Nurse’s car set on fire; police deny link to coronavirus fears

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Updates to include advisory from police distancing the instance from recent attacks on health-care workers.

Merida, Yucatan — Two men set fire to a nurse’s automobile while it was parked in her garage. The incident was at first attributed to COVID-19 panic until police said otherwise.

The pair was caught by a surveillance camera splashing the car with gasoline and lighting it, seemingly coming close to catching themselves ablaze, shortly before 1 a.m. Wednesday in the Lindavista neighborhood, west of the Centro. Only a gate with iron bars separated the car from the sidewalk.

The nurse recognized the subjects captured in the video and that in the past, she has filed police reports against the neighbors. “All I want is for them to do justice,” she told reporters.

The victim’s daughter shared a photo of the damage on social networks with a text indicating that “attacks against the good nurses continue.”

State police, however, issued an advisory clarifying that the attack was based on a dispute that had nothing to do with coronavirus.

But a friend on Facebook said the attackers feared that the nurse, employed by a regional Issste hospital, was spreading COVID-19 to the neighborhood.

The victim’s family smelled smoke and was able to escape without injury.

State authorities cordoned off the house while the case is being investigated.

In mid-May, the Yucatecan legislature passed a law that punishes attacks against health-care workers with five years in prison. Nurses across Mexico have been targeted in astonishing attacks from fearful people who associate them with the coronavirus contagion.

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