Coronavirus: over 600 cases of violence against caregivers and patients
Share article:
Share article:

Coronavirus: over 600 cases of violence against caregivers and patients

Credit: Belga

More than 600 violent incidents against caregivers, patients and medical facilities have been recorded in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says on Tuesday.

According to the ICRC, these figures are all the more worrying as they reflect only known cases and the actual number of cases is likely to be much higher.

“The crisis has endangered health-care workers at a time when they were most needed,” said Maciej Polkowski of the ICRC in a statement.

A total of 611 incidents of violence, harassment and stigmatisation were recorded by the ICRC in more than 40 countries between the beginning of February and the end of July.

Related Articles


More than 20% of the cases involved physical assaults, 15% involved acts of discrimination based on fear, and 15% involved verbal attacks or threats.

Of the attacks on individuals, 67% were directed against health-care workers, 22% against people wounded, ill or suspected of being ill, and 5% against internally displaced people or refugees.

“Acts of violence against health-care workers and patients are often motivated by fear of contracting the virus and a lack of basic knowledge about Covid-19,” said Esperanza Martinez, head of the ICRC’s Health Unit.

For example, most of the acts committed by patients or relatives of patients have been motivated by grievances related to the death of a family member or by the fear of seeing one of their own die.

There have also been cases where relatives of deceased patients have turned against health personnel or medical facilities after being forced, due to coronavirus restrictions, to forego funeral rituals.

The ICRC calls on governments and communities to combat the misinformation that contributes to these incidents and to ensure that health-care professionals can work safely.

The Brussels Times

Latest news

More women take police selection tests in Belgium
The selection tests to become a police inspector have more and more female participants, according to figures released by Interior Affairs Minister ...
‘Absurd’: all Brussels schools should have the same Covid rules
Several city councillors for education in Brussels are calling to abolish the "absurd" differences in coronavirus measures for Dutch-speaking and ...
Massive renovations for iconic venue in the heart of Brussels
Brussels concert hall Ancienne Belgique has announced plans to renovate the AB Café and the AB Salon and is looking for a contractor fit for the job. ...
Display of child’s room in Brussels raises awareness of foster families
An exhibit that features a fictitious child’s bedroom has been on display since Tuesday at the Place d'Armes in Namur, with the support of the ...
Test results show pupils have fallen behind in Flemish schools
Learning delays have been reported in almost all subject areas in Flanders since the start of the pandemic, a trend that continued in 2021, a ...
Belgium considers relaxing testing rules for UK travellers
At the next Consultative Committee meeting, Belgium will look into relaxing the testing and entry policy for travellers coming from the United ...
Jette libraries start giving plants away with books
Visitors to libraries in the Brussels municipality of Jette will soon be able to pick up a free plant along with a book, thanks to the new Plantotek ...
‘Do what you want, but do it as safely as possible,’ experts warn
As the daily number of new coronavirus infections exceeds 3,000 for the first time since May, infectious disease expert Erika Vlieghe and ...
‘We’re running dry’: Brussels teacher shortage reaches critical levels
The teacher shortage in Brussels is affecting schools across language borders, according to Brussels’ Minister for Multilingualism and Dutch ...
New coronavirus infections above 3,000 for first time since May
The number of people testing positive for coronavirus has skyrocketed to the highest rate since the start of May 2021. Between 9 and 15 October, ...
Belgium in Brief: Getting To The Airport
When I saw the news of plans for a tram line and cycle path to connect Brussels' outskirts to the airport, my first reaction was sheer joy.  Let ...
EU should invest €5 trillion in climate plan, says State Secretary for Economic Recovery
The European Union must invest €5 trillion in its climate plan over the next decade to "retain its credibility as a political project," according ...