They are the unsung heroes who risk their health every day amid the current coronavirus outbreak to keep Singapore’s medical services running smoothly.

Despite that, some of these champions – which include nurses, doctors, paramedics and hospital staff – have found themselves ostracised and shunned by members of the public.

In one such instance, a nurse was taking the MRT when she saw a fellow nurse being chided by two other passengers for “making the train dirty and spreading (the) Wuhan (virus)”.

Recounting the incident on her Instagram story, the nurse added that she felt compelled to step up to defend her compatriot, but was also scolded by the two passengers, who told her that she “shouldn’t take the train” as well.

Image Source: Instagram / smuack_inori

The nurse concluded her post by lamenting the poor attitudes of such people towards healthcare workers. She wrote: “We are just trying our best and definitely (do) not deserve (to be treated in) this kind of manner. It’s so hurtful.”

Another nurse recounted, via Twitter, how she was scolded by a neighbour for taking the lift. The neighbour reportedly said to her: “You nurses always walk around with virus on you and always spread to people…So stupid.” Meanwhile, another neighbour who got in the same lift with the nurse noticeably moved away from her.

And in an interview with TODAY, a senior nurse in a public hospital talked about how she, too, has been avoided by others when she wears her uniform in public.

“Taxi drivers are reluctant to pick up anyone in medical uniforms,” she said. “In the MRT, people stay clear of nurses and make comments like, ‘Hope you have taken a shower after your shift’.”

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Surely, our healthcare professionals deserve better than this? Surely, we can Be Greater?

While we all should take precautions against the coronavirus, it certainly does not mean we should disrespect, avoid, or worse, discriminate against our healthcare professionals.

Instead, we should all appreciate their daily sacrifices to help the sick and save lives, especially in a trying time like this.

A recent post on Tan Tock Seng Hospital’s Facebook page, showed just how hard our healthcare professionals have been working, as well as the extra preventive measures they have had to take while battling the virus.

Image Source: Facebook / Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH)

Another Facebook post, by a nurse named Benjamin Ong, also highlighted the difficulties that healthcare professionals like himself are facing during this period – this includes having his annual leave frozen, being unable to leave the country, and even having to cancel his wedding reception because he and his spouse-to-be are both “needed to fight the ‘war’” on the virus.

Image Source: Facebook / Benjamin Ong

That is why it is heart-warming to see that there are many Singaporeans who have shown their appreciation for our healthcare professionals.

In one such act of kindness, two young girls – aged 10 and six – came up with a plan with their father to deliver breakfast to healthcare workers in hospitals.

Local food and beverage chain Old Chang Kee, too, showed its support for healthcare staff by giving them free curry puffs at selected stores.

We should support our healthcare workers through this difficult time.

Whether it is encouraging them when you meet, or simple gestures like offering them your seat on public transport, there are many things we can do to show our appreciation to our healthcare workers.

They are the heroes of Singapore during this coronavirus outbreak. And they deserve our kindness, understanding and respect.