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S Korean doctors stage walkout despite order to return to work

ANI | Updated: Aug 26, 2020 14:40 IST


Seoul [South Korea], Aug 26 (ANI/Sputnik): Tens of thousands of South Korean medical workers staged a walkout from hospitals on Wednesday despite the authorities' order to resume work, as some services were disrupted at major clinics throughout the country, the state-run Yonhap news agency reported.
The three-day collective strike is being staged by doctors and fellows working at training hospitals to protest the government's plans to reform the health care education system.
"As of 8 a.m. [23:00 GMT Tuesday], the government has ordered trainee doctors and fellows working at training hospitals in Seoul, Gyeonggi Province and Incheon to immediately return to their medical services," South Korean Health Minister Park Neung-hoo said, as quoted by the news agency.
According to the ministry, those who disobey the order may have their medical licenses revoked and face up to a three-year prison term or a fine of some 30 million won ($25,293).

The country's medical sector and the government have reportedly reached an agreement to shelve the reform plan until the spread of COVID-19 is contained in the greater capital region. However, the deal was rejected by the Korean Intern and Resident Association representing the trainee doctors, the media outlet added, citing the Health Ministry.
This is the second walkout organized by the Korean Medical Association after the Monday strike.
Specifically, the fellows are protesting government plans to increase the number for admissions to medical schools by over 400 students per year, effectively lowering the bar for acceptance. They are also protesting plans to introduce elements of traditional medicine and telemedicine into the curriculum, which are largely frowned upon in the medical community.
The government, in turn, is scrambling to avoid a massive reduction in the medical workforce, as the COVID-19 outbreak in the capital appears on an upward trajectory.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in has urged citizens to abide by stricter measures to stem the spread of the COVID-19 in the country. The proliferation of the virus picked up in August in the capital of Seoul and surrounding metropolitan areas after a five-month hiatus. Official data indicates that 312 people have died so far from the disease. (ANI/Sputnik)

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