Doctors on strike (Yonhap)
South Korean military doctors will be dispatched to understaffed civilian health facilities to help treat coronavirus patients, as trainee doctors continue their strike amid a surge in the number of severely and critically ill COVID-19 patients, the Defense Ministry said Wednesday.
Starting Friday, 22 military doctors will begin work at nine facilities in the Seoul area, including hospitals, screening clinics and other designated centers treating COVID-19 patients.
The Health Ministry said it had requested 53 doctors and that more would be dispatched in stages.
The Defense Ministry said it will also take in critically ill civilian patients at its military Capital Hospital in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, from Friday, as the country continues to see triple-digit figures for new infections per day, with hospital beds for intensive care on the verge of depletion.
The ministry added that it will offer more hospital beds when more doctors are available.
Medical interns and residents have been on an indefinite strike to protest the government’s medical workforce reform plan, which for the first time in 15 years includes an increase in the country’s quota for medical students.
By Choi Si-young (firstname.lastname@example.org