SINGAPORE - Being a healthcare worker on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak is challenging - with long shifts, worrying about bringing the virus home to loved ones, and even being shunned by people on public transport.
To show their appreciation for these medical professionals, people across the island have been writing them notes of encouragement as part of a movement known as #braveheartsg.
Members of the public are invited to pen handwritten notes, take pictures of them, and then upload the images onto Facebook as public posts with the hashtag #braveheartsg. They can also e-mail the photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community group StandUpFor.SG, which started the initiative, will print out these images and distribute them to staff at healthcare institutions across the island from Valentine's Day (Feb 14) onwards.
The movement was launched last Saturday and has already drawn more than 800 responses.
This comes amid news that some people were shunning healthcare workers in uniform - driven by their fear of catching the virus, which has killed more than 1,000 people in mainland China and sickened over 45,000 worldwide.
StandUpFor.SG co-founder Wally Tham wants medical professionals to know that Singaporeans are behind them.
"As they fight this coronavirus, we have their backs and we love them and care for them," he said in a video explaining what the #braveheartsg movement was about. "So let's all come together and show them our support."
Others - such as individuals, schools and MPs - have stepped up too.
Since last weekend, more than 10,000 people have signed a Change.org petition to stop discrimination against nurses on public transport.
Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC MP Sun Xueling, meanwhile, is inviting Punggol residents to pen their good wishes for Sengkang General Hospital's healthcare workers.
Residents can visit Residents' Network (RN) centres in Punggol West or the Punggol West Community Club (CC) at Block 259C to collect a card to write their messages, and then drop them off at any of the Punggol West RN centres or the CC by Thursday evening.
Elsewhere in Singapore, Asher Lin, nine, took the initiative to present staff at Clementi Polyclinic with biscuits and a handmade poster with his well wishes.
“My mum is a doctor,” the Primary 3 pupil told The Straits Times. “After she comes home from work every day, she is very tired. So I decided to help her and her friends feel more encouraged. I want to tell them that they should hang in there.”