April 21, 2021

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Covid-19 has sparked more than 400 attacks on physicians

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The Association for the Protection and Resolution of Conflict in Health (SHCC) publishes statistics showing at least 1,172 cases of violence and attacks targeting medical staff or facilities in 2020.

According to a report released on March 2, of the attacks, there were 412 directly related to Covid-19. In Mexico, for example, a nurse was assaulted by a group that accused her of transmitting the virus. In Dakar (Senegal), people threw stones at 3 medical staff because they did not want Covid-19’s body to be buried near their home. In Birmingham (UK), a medical worker was spit on and insulted by a neighbor.

80% of the perpetrators of the attacks are civilians, but violence also comes from public authorities. In Egypt, health officials who criticized the government’s handling of the pandemic were detained by security forces, charged with spreading false information and viewed as terrorism.

Insecurity Insight – which developed maps for SHCC – recorded 802 attacks that occurred in countries at war or aimed at victims of civil conflict, such as hospital bombing in Yemen and kidnapping doctor in Nigeria.

Christina Wille, director of Insecurity Insight, said: “The data shows that violent and intimidating behavior against health workers is truly a global crisis in 2020, affecting 79 countries.”

Leonard Rubenstein, president and founder of SHCC, and professor at Johns Hopkins University, USA, urges governments to protect health workers and fight misinformation.

Mai Dung (Follow AFP)

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