Coronavirus: President Halimah Yacob calls out criticism of healthcare workers

She has urged Singaporeans to show support.

Matthias Ang | February 13, 2020, 04:36 PM

President Halimah Yacob has called out the criticism of healthcare workers and urged Singaporeans to show support for them instead.

Pained to hear that healthcare workers are being criticised

In a Facebook post put up on Feb. 13, Halimah stated that it was "really painful" to hear about how some healthcare workers had been ostracised on public transport and in lifts, rather than being praised for their work and courage in the face of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

She explained that this is an issue close to her heart because she also has family members working as frontline healthcare staff, and she had worked with the healthcare union for many years while in the labour movement.

Halimah then asked:

"Why then do some of us make their lives so difficult at a time when we need them the most?"

Healthcare workers are human too

In stressing that healthcare workers are human, Halimah highlighted healthcare workers also have their own health and families to think about while they care for the family members of others.

As per Halimah:

"They had to cast aside their own fears and valiantly serve the ill out of a sense of duty and compassion."

She then asked who might take care of ill family members, should there be a scenario in which health workers, "who are already overworked", decide to leave over the pressures that they face.

They will never leave their jobs but we must show them support

The President then added that while she is convinced that Singapore's healthcare workers will never leave their jobs, it is up to Singaporeans to show them support through daily interactions.

Calling for appreciation and empathy, she stated:

"As I’ve said before how we respond to this crisis define us as a people."

Here is her post in full:


A few healthcare workers have spoken up in the past week relating their own unpleasant experiences with members of the public who ostracise those in uniform, at a time when encouragement and support should be given.

Here are some of the incidents that have reportedly occurred thus far:

However, many Singaporeans have also offered their support to healthcare workers:

Top image from Singhealth