Trainees stage strike at Ajou University Hospital in Suwon, Aug. 21, 2020. (Yonhap)
South Korean military doctors will be dispatched to understaffed civilian health facilities to help treat coronavirus patients, as trainee doctors carry on 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. More doctors are expected to join them soon, according to the Health Ministry, which had asked the Defense Ministry for help.
The Defense Ministry said it will also take in critically ill civilian patients at its military hospital in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, from Friday, as the country continues to see triple-digit figures for new daily infections, amid rising concerns over an acute shortage of hospital beds for intensive care.
Medical interns and residents have been on an indefinite strike to protest the government’s plan to increase the number of medical students, for the first time in 15 years.
By Choi Si-young (firstname.lastname@example.org