Nurses told to change out of uniforms to avoid being attacked over coronavirus

Nurses in some hospitals are reportedly being urged to remove their scrubs before leaving hospital after a female healthcare worker was attacked and accused of spreading the novel coronavirus.

The husband of a Melbourne nurse recounted the disturbing incident during a radio interview with ABC this week, telling ABC 774 that she was parking her car when she was approached by a member of the public.

“She was parking her car last night and someone approaches her, elbows her and calls her an effing this and that, and that she’s spreading the virus,” he said.

The incident prompted swift condemnation from authorities with the Victoria Minister for Health, Jenny Mikakos, saying it was “completely unacceptable”.

“Our healthcare workers are our heroes,” she said.

Coronavirus live blog: Latest news and updates about the crisis in Australia

It comes after the federal health minister Greg Hunt earlier condemned reports of aggression towards healthcare workers as hospitals prepare for a wave of coronavirus patients.

The Nursing and Midwifery Federation says it has begun to see reports of aggression towards nurses as the pandemic escalates.

“I think it might get to the point where you will need police patrolling the area and protecting services,” one nurse told Nine News outside hospital.

A nurse (left) tells Nine News that things are getting bad for medical staff. A NSW nurse (right) recounts a moment when a patient spat in her face. Source: Nine News/TikTok

Coronavirus patient spits in nurse’s face

In a video posted to social media app TikTok this week, a NSW nurse described a shocking incident in which a patient spat in her face, News Corp reported.

The nurse who was wearing a NSW Health uniform, spoke of the difficulty of dealing with the public while working at a COVID-19 clinic, and recounted the despicable moment.

“Yesterday, I had a patient spit on my face,” she said in the video filmed on her phone.

“We don’t know whether he’s confirmed or not — we haven’t got the swabs back yet, but he’s been tested — and he spat on my face.”

The young woman was visibly angry about the appalling act and said she was targeted because “I’m going to get sick anyway”.

Nurses at a COVID-19 Clinic at the Mount Barker Hospital in Adelaide. Source: AAP

Commenting on the story of the Melbourne nurse being attacked, one Facebook user who claimed to be a nurse said it isn’t always possible to change out of scrubs, and called on the public to be sensible.

“Where I work we don’t even have a changing room let alone shower,” she wrote.

“If we are going to get attacked and we decide to sit at home, who’s gonna look after people in need. Be sensible people.”

Others expressed an immense gratitude for the nurses and doctors who are at the frontline of the coronavirus fight.

“That stupid person has no idea how much that beautiful person is putting their lives and family’s lives at risk by looking after strangers,” they said.

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