As if they don’t have it hard enough fighting on the front line against COVID-19, Japanese doctors and nurses have to contend with harassment and bullying from some members of the public who fear they may be spreading the virus.
A February report from Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbum noted,
The association said despite the DMAT [Disasters Medical Assistance Team] members risking their lives to contain the disease, they have been treated like germs upon returning to their workplaces.
Their children were asked to refrain from attending nursery schools and kindergartens by school officials.
The Japan Times/Bloomberg reported that children of medical professionals were being excluded from daycare centers.
The children of Japanese medical professionals are being shut out from day care centers, or being asked for proof they aren’t infected with the coronavirus, adding to the burdens of an already stretched work force on the front lines of the pandemic.
. . .
“There’s growing prejudice and discrimination against people in the medical field,” said Shigeru Omi, the deputy head of the government’s advisory panel on the virus. “It’s even extending to their families.”
Finally, a CBS News report highlighted incidents of nurses and doctors being harassed in public.
“Why are you nurses walking around outside? It’s absurd.” The nurse found herself accosted by an agitated man as she returned to her car. “It’s your fault the virus is spreading!”
“You work at the hospital, right?” a group of mothers interrogated another nurse in a Tokyo park. “We’d appreciate it if you stayed away.” Shocked, the nurse immediately went back home with her kids, she told the TBS network. “It’s as if they equate nurses with coronavirus.”
A staff member with Kita-Harima Medical Center was unable to move because the moving company refused to pick up his furniture. In Tokyo’s Taito Ward, a nurse employed at Eiju General Hospital was asked to stop bringing her preschooler to daycare.
Personally, it sounds like a pretty dumb idea to harass the people you may need to call upon someday for life-saving medical treatment.