Trainee doctors launch strike amid resurgence of COVID-19
SEOUL, Trainee doctors working at the country’s general hospitals began a strike Friday to protest the government’s medical reform plan amid a surge in coronavirus infections.
Their walkout is the third of its kind after many doctors boycotted attending patients on Aug. 7, followed by a one-day strike last Friday.
The Korean Intern and Resident Association (KIRA) said the latest protest will take place with fourth-year residents working at large hospitals going on strike first, followed by third-year trainee doctors on Saturday and first- and second-year residents Sunday.
All trainee doctors working at emergency rooms will also all go on strike starting Friday for an indefinite period of time, it said.
The trainee doctors’ walkout comes as doctors have warned of a nationwide strike from next Wednesday through Friday to protest the government’s medical reform plan. This follows a one-day general strike carried out last Friday. The medical community have strongly opposed plans to raise admission quotas at medical schools, claiming that increasing the number of new doctors will only lead to more competition and hurt the quality of treatment.
Major hospitals, such as Seoul Asan Medical Center and Samsung Medical Center, put off non-critical surgery.
In addition to regular medical treatment, coronavirus screening centers around the country may have to cut back on people they can check, as trainee doctors have been assigned to such facilities.
The country added 288 more COVID-19 cases, including 276 local infections, raising the total caseload to 16,346, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC). South Korea has been reporting triple-digit increases in daily cases since last Friday, with more than 1,500 new infections being identified over the past week.
Source: Yonhap News Agency