Discrimination against TTSH staff fighting Covid-19 'distressing', says PM Lee

Staff thoroughly disinfecting one of the wards at Tan Tock Seng Hospital.
Staff thoroughly disinfecting one of the wards at Tan Tock Seng Hospital. PHOTO: TAN TOCK SENG HOSPITAL

SINGAPORE - Staff at Tan Tock Seng Hospital have not only been fighting Covid-19, but some have also faced discrimination from members of the public, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Friday (May 7).

"People are understandably fearful, but it is no less distressing to see," he said in a Facebook post.

"For a year plus, all of us have been fighting Covid-19 in one way or another, and because we all worked together, our situation has steadily improved.

"We cannot let setbacks divide us or wear us down because if we lose our unity, the virus has won."

Some TTSH employees have reported instances of discrimination in recent weeks after a growing cluster of Covid-19 cases emerged at the hospital last month. There were 40 cases linked to the cluster as at Thursday.

One member of the hospital staff said on Twitter that drivers with ride-hailing services had repeatedly cancelled her rides after they saw that she was going to TTSH.

Another said people keep their distance if she wears her hospital uniform on the MRT.

But there have also been instances of public support being shown to TTSH staff, PM Lee said in his post. He said some businesses have even offered promotions to support them.

One example is Stuff'd, which sells wraps, salads and kebabs. Its outlet at the Square 2 mall near the hospital in Novena is offering all TTSH staff free meals and drinks.

A sign put up outside the outlet says: "TTSH, we don't generally do promotions, but here's one for you. Have a free meal on us when you present your pass. We love and thank you."

PM Lee said those who wish to send words of encouragement to loved ones at TTSH, including staff and patients, can send a private message to the hospital on Facebook. The hospital will then deliver the message.

He added: "It would be a thoughtful gesture to cheer them up and urge them on. Don't lose heart, TTSH. Singapore is with you!"