'Why are we being treated like this?': Nurses handling COVID-19 evicted as landlord fears infection

Two nurses sit inside the G4 building at the Aloei Saboe Regional General Hospital in Gorontalo City, Gorontalo, on Tuesday, March 3, 2020. The hospital is a referral hospital for coronavirus patients in the province.(Antara/Adiwinata Solihin)
Three nurses who work in Bung Karno Hospital in Surakarta, Central Java, have been evicted from their rooming house over the landlord's concerns that the healthcare workers will infect her family with the coronavirus.
One of the affected nurses, Siska, said she received the eviction notice via text.
"I just woke up and I suddenly received texts from our landlord asking us to move immediately. The three of us were kicked out because we work in a referral hospital for COVID-19," she told The Jakarta Post on Monday.
Siska said she was perplexed by the situation especially since it would be very hard for them to find a new place to stay amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"We're shocked, disappointed and offended. Why are we being treated like this?" she said.
"I hope people don't stigmatize healthcare providers, we always use protective gear when treating COVID-19 patients and implement standard health protocols."
Bung Karno Hospital director Wahyu Indianto confirmed the incident, saying that the hospital management had since provided its spare rooms for the nurses to stay.
News of the eviction subsequently reached Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo, who immediately responded by calling the nurses and the landlord on Monday.
He confirmed that the hospital management had picked up the nurses and provided them with temporary accommodation in the facility.
"The landlord, meanwhile, apologized to me while crying and said she was just afraid that her husband could be infected [with the coronavirus]," Ganjar said. "I was baffled by the fact that she could think that way since she is a midwife herself."
The eviction is the latest example of hostility toward medical workers in the country, who have fought on the front line of the coronavirus battle but are nonetheless facing discrimination as many are concerned they could be spreading the virus.
Last month, some nurses and doctors who treat coronavirus patients in Persahabatan Central General Hospital (RSUP) in East Jakarta were reportedly kicked out of their rooming houses near the hospital.
In Central Java's Semarang regency, residents of Sewakul village in West Ungaran subdistrict rejected the funeral of a nurse who died after succumbing to COVID-19 on April 12, citing fears of being infected with the contagious virus.
The Central Java Police, in cooperation with the Semarang Police, have since apprehended three residents who had allegedly rejected the nurse’s burial. They were charged under articles 212 and 214 of the Criminal Code and Law No. 4/1984 on infectious diseases.
Ganjar said such incidents indicated that residents needed to be educated more thoroughly on COVID-19. However, he said the provincial administration had prepared buildings to house medical workers if similar evictions occurred in the future.
"We've prepared several places for healthcare workers to stay if such incidents occur. In Semarang, we have Kesambi Hotel and in Surakarta we have the Bakorwil building," he said. (nal)
Source; The Jakarta Post
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