Belgian PM is shamed by ‘outraged’ medics as they turn their backs on her in protest of her handling of the pandemic
- PM Sophie Wilmès visited Saint-Pierre Hospital, Marollen, Brussels, Saturday
- On arrival in a motorcade she saw rows of medics turning their backs one by one
- Doctors and nurses were protesting the PM’s handling of the covid-19 pandemic
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
Medics gave Belgian Prime Minster Sophie Wilmès a cold reception on Saturday, turning their backs on her one by one as she arrived to visit a hospital amid the covid-19 pandemic.
Wilmès was making an unofficial visit to the Saint-Pierre Hospital in Marollen, Brussels when she arrived to find her motorcade greeted by rows of medics with their backs turned towards her in protest.
A video of the poignant protest by nurses and doctors, turning their backs one by one as Wilmès arrives in a Mercedes Benz, has been widely shared online.
The silent protest by doctors, nurses and paramedics at the hospital was made in response to the Prime Minister’s handling of the covid-19 pandemic.
Coronavirus has so far claimed 9,000 lives in Belgium, with 55,000 confirmed cases.
The country has the highest mortality rate in the world with 66 deaths in every 100,000 cases of the virus – in the US the death rate stands at 19 in 100,000.
The protest was made by medics in Saint-Pierre Hospital in Marollen, Brussels, on Saturday, in response to the Prime Minister’s handling of the covid-19 pandemic
A royal decree, prepared by health minister Maggie De Block and signed into law on May 4, allows untrained staff to work as nurses, leaving the medical profession ‘outraged’ at the disregard for nurses’ essential skills.
Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes
Doctors and nurses from twelve hospitals in the country have written to government calling for the decree to be repealed, reports The Brussels Times.
The General Union of Belgian Nurses called the decree ‘a real slap in the face’, as it suggested that nurses’ were not highly trained and their skills were transferable, reports The Independent.
Wilmès was reportedly making the visit to ease tensions following the decree.
Speaking to Belgian broadcaster RTBF on the day of the visit Wilmes said she had wanted to share a ‘message of appeasement’ and did not want to see the nursing sector ‘reduced to what it was before’ after coronavirus has passed.
Belgium Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes received a cold reception from the medical staff at Saint Peter hospital in Brussels during her official visit to the hospital
Medics turned their back towards the politician on her arrival. The country has reported over 9,000 Covid-19 deaths. May 16 2020
Workers at the hospital, who feel the decree to employee unqualified staff as nurses has undermined their efforts during the pandemic
But workers at the hospital, who feel the decree has undermined their efforts during the pandemic, stood in silent protest.
The Prime Minister went on to visit a second hospital on Saturday, where she was not met by protest, say reports.
Belgium is expected to reopen schools, markets and other cultural activities this week after spending two-months in lockdown.