Essential Workers in Spain Stigmatised Because of Coronavirus: From Bleach on Their Doorsteps to Anonymous Letters

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DUE to the stigmatisation of certain jobs during the pandemic, some workers have been receiving anonymous letters from their neighbours asking them to leave their homes ‘for the common good.’  

The coronavirus pandemic is creating an unpleasant phenomenon amongst key workers, like supermarket staff or doctors, who go out to fight each day against the virus. These kinds of social behaviours could stem from a fear of the unknown, the fear of getting coronavirus which results in unfortunate attitudes.

This same kind of stigmatisation has been evident in previous pandemics such as the bird flu, the Spanish flu, and leprosy, and now it is arising with Covid-19.

Ricardo Campos, an ophthalmologist at the General Universitario de Valencia Hospital, says that when the Chinese population in Spain was alerted about what was happening in Wuhan and began to use masks to prevent contagion, “there were suspicious glances to those who were buying in the supermarket.” Now Ricardo says this trend has reversed and now we are suspicious of those who are not wearing masks or gloves.

Many times, this kind of stigmatisation is also suffered by doctors, supermarket workers or nurses. “They are people who are risking their lives on the front line and do not receive stratospheric wages” defends Ricardo. However, he admits that although these “situations are regrettable” they remain a “minority.”

Jesus Monllor, a doctor in Ciudad Real, shares how he received an anonymous note on his door which read: “Hello neighbour. We know of your good work at the hospital and it is appreciated, but you should also think about your neighbours: there are children and old people here. There are places like the ‘Barataria’ where they take in professionals. Whilst this situation lasts, I ask you to think about it.”

This note has now gone viral and Jesus has received a lot of support online and even from other neighbours in the building, as one person posted a note on his door which read, ‘a hero lives here.’

Similarly, Miriam Armero a supermarket worker in Cartagena received a note from her neighbours asking her to leave her home ‘for the common good.’

Leo, a nurse in Madrid, who tested positive for the coronavirus decided to stay in complete isolation at his home and a neighbour, ‘with whom he had a cordial relationship,’ was worried about him when she realised, he had not been out for over a week. Leo informed the neighbour of his coronavirus and soon after found his door completely sprayed with bleach on multiple occasions.

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Written by

Laura Kemp

Originally from UK, Laura is based in Axarquia and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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