İrem UZUN -TDO- Belgium’s Prime Minister, Sophie Wilmès, was met with a silent protest by staff at a hospital in Brussels on Saturday. Doctors and nurses at Saint-Pierre hospital turned their backs as Wilmès arrived in a car. According to local media, workers staged the protest to call for increased acknowledgment of their efforts and against a decree to recruit unqualified staff to carry out nursing activities.
The government has faced criticism over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, with Belgium currently reporting the highest deaths per capita out of any country. Until now, there are 55,559 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country, while the death toll passed 9,000 within a population of 11 million.
There have also been ongoing disagreements between nurses and the government, since nurses demand more recognition within the healthcare industry. According to the Brussel Times report, the medics were unhappy about the government trying to “recruit unqualified staff to provide support to nursing personnel” instead of hiring trained professionals.
A video of the medics turning their back towards the PM on her arrival went viral on social media. While some people expressed disappointment over the government's approach towards the pandemic, others praised the medical staff for standing up.