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Support 133 medical staff infected with coronavirus: lawmaker

(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)

At least 133 medical workers got infected with the new coronavirus while treating patients, but received no government support for their own treatment, a ruling party lawmaker said Wednesday.

By occupation, 77 of them were nurses, according to data from the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention disclosed by Rep. Shin Hyun-young of the Democratic Party. Thirty-three were nursing assistants, and 10 were doctors.

By region, Daegu, which was the site of mass infections in February, had the highest number of infected medical workers -- 70 -- followed by 28 in Gyeonggi Province and 16 in North Gyeongsang Province.

Sixty-seven were infected during general treatment, and 52 were cases of mass infection at hospitals.

Ten were infected while treating COVID-19 patients, and four got infected during treatment at centers set aside for suspected cases.

The government said earlier in regard to its third extra budget that it planned to “spend 12 billion won ($9.99 million) to run programs to train, counsel and heal medical and disease control workers who are at the front lines of the battle against COVID-19.”

Zero state funds were allocated, however, for medical staff confirmed to have the novel coronavirus.

Rep. Shin, a medical doctor, said medical workers who got infected while treating patients must be prioritized in the third supplementary budget planning process.

“Medical workers out there are suffering from burnout along with other difficulties,” Shin said.

“(The government) must prepare substantial compensation for the medical staff instead of relying on individuals’ dedication for national disease control.”

By Kim So-hyun (sophie@heraldcorp.com)
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