By Analou De Vera
The Department of Health (DOH) on Sunday night denounced reports of discrimination and harassment against health care workers amid the coronavirus disease crisis.
The DOH said it is receiving reports of some health workers being attacked physically, including “being thrown bleach and splashed with chlorine.”
The department added that there were also reports that some health workers are refused access to basic services such as transportation and laundry, with some of them blocked and fined at checkpoints, and being “evicted from their homes.”
“We denounce the acts of physical assault, harassment, and discrimination committed against our fellow health care workers. These acts cannot be tolerated,” the DOH said in a statement.
“We appeal to the public to extend understanding and compassion to our health care workers. Our health care workers have responded to our country’s need with dedication, courage, and selflessness. This is not the time for us to turn our backs on them.”
The DOH assured the public that health care workers take extra precaution to ensure infection prevention and control.
“Health care workers who are PUIs (persons under investigation) and PUMs (persons under monitoring) are following protocol, taking steps to isolate themselves even from their loved ones,” the department said.
The DOH said it is now investigating the reported harassments and vowed to hold perpetrators liable.
“We support our counterparts at the Philippine National Police, Department of Transportation, Department of the Interior and Local Government, as well as LGUs (local government units), whose personnel we expect and hope to be the first line of defense in protecting our health care workers and keeping them safe from harm and discrimination,” the DOH said.
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