JERUSALEM: The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) expresses its shock and dismay regarding an attack on staff in the intensive care unit of Dura Hospital in Hebron yesterday.
In the incident, 15 people broke into the ICU after a family was informed that a patient suffering from COVID-19 had died. The man was in his seventies and suffered from other health complications.
After a male nurse tried to convince the visitors to leave the premises, fearing further infections of COVID-19 and damage to equipment, he was set upon and beaten, sustaining injuries across his body and face.
Such attacks are completely unacceptable. They undermine the capacity of health workers to provide essential care at a time when it is direly needed. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, cases of COVID-19 in Hebron have reached around 9,000.
The sad reality is that health workers worldwide have for a long time been subject to shocking forms of violence. The recent displays of public support for COVID-19 responders are heartwarming, but many responders are nevertheless experiencing harassment, stigmatization and physical violence.
Health personnel, medical facilities and transport such as ambulances must be respected and protected in all circumstances, and the work of medical personnel must be facilitated at all times.