More than 600 acts of violence committed in connection to COVID-19 -Intl Red Cross

Realising that relaxing rules may have offered a loophole for some companies to profiteer unlawfully from government tenders, the Treasury is now strengthening its hand on overseeing Covid-19 procurement. (Illustrative image | Source: Gallo Images / Sharon Seretlo)

BOGOTA, Aug 19 (Reuters) - More than 600 cases of violence, harassment or stigmatization in relation to cases of COVID-19 have been recorded by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) during the first six months of the pandemic.

Some 611 violent acts took place from February to July across more than 40 countries, the ICRC said on Tuesday, adding that the real number of incidents is likely much higher. More than 20% of incidents were physical assaults, while 15% were verbal assaults or threats and another 15% constituted fear-based discrimination, it said.

“This crisis has put health care workers in harm’s way at a time when they are needed the most,” the head of ICRC’s Health Care in Danger initiative, Maciej Polkowski, said in a statement.

“These attacks have a devastating impact on access to and provision of health care when many health systems are overwhelmed,” Polkowski added.

Globally, more than 780,000 people have died from COVID-19 and over 22 million have been infected by the coronavirus that causes it, according to a Reuters tally.

The outbreak started in Wuhan, China, in early December and was referred to as a pandemic by the World Health Organization in March.

Attacks against medical staff, patients and medical infrastructure were driven by fear of infection, grief related to death, and anger at being unable to perform burial rituals, among other reasons, the ICRC said.

Incidents were recorded in countries including Afghanistan, the Philippines, and Colombia, the ICRC added.

(Reporting by Oliver Griffin; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)


"Information pertaining to Covid-19, vaccines, how to control the spread of the virus and potential treatments is ever-changing. Under the South African Disaster Management Act Regulation 11(5)(c) it is prohibited to publish information through any medium with the intention to deceive people on government measures to address COVID-19. We are therefore disabling the comment section on this article in order to protect both the commenting member and ourselves from potential liability. Should you have additional information that you think we should know, please email [email protected]"

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

A South African Hero: You

There’s a 99.7% chance that this isn’t for you. Only 0.3% of our readers have responded to this call for action.

Those 0.3% of our readers are our hidden heroes, who are fuelling our work and impacting the lives of every South African in doing so. They’re the people who contribute to keep Daily Maverick free for all, including you.

The equation is quite simple: the more members we have, the more reporting and investigations we can do, and the greater the impact on the country.

Be part of that 0.3%. Be a Maverick. Be a Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

MavericKids vol 3

How can a child learn to read if they don't have a book?

81% of South African children aged 10 can't read for meaning. You can help by pre-ordering a copy of MavericKids.

For every copy sold we will donate a copy to Gift of The Givers for children in need of reading support.