Now to the developing story on the push and pull between the doctors association and the South Korean government.
With the doctors proceeding with their planned nationwide strike starting today,… the South Korean government has given the doctors an ultimatum.
The government says if doctors don’t return to work, they will be held legally responsible.
For more on this fluid situation,… we have our Kim Do-yeon standing by at one of the major hospitals in Seoul.
Do-yeon, the government gave another announcement this morning tell us more.

Mark, yes, it did.
Just a couple of hours ago health minister Park Neung-hoo imposed an order on all doctors especially those in Seoul Metropolitan area to return to work ASAP.
And if they don’t, he said the country has no option to pursue judiciary proceedings.

“The current legislation punishes those against the order with up to 3 years in prison or up to 25,000 U.S. dollars in fines, or a cancellation or suspension of their medical license.”

Such a hardline stance from the government comes as the nation has been seeing a large number of new COVID-19 cases and the government says that the country cannot afford to have doctors away from their workplaces.
This comes despite the doctors association and trainee doctors association having rounds of discussions with the government until early this morning.
The doctors are against the government’s reform plan, which includes upping admission quotas at med schools to recruit an additional 4-thousand doctors over the next decade.
Doctors claim it’s the country’s bad healthcare policies,… NOT the shortage of doctors,… that have caused the problems in provincial areas.

So Doyeon how have hospitals prepared for this?
Why don’t we begin with the hospital where you’re reporting from?

Mark, that’s right.
Here, at Seoul National University Hospital, some 510 of the 620 interns and residents have been on strike since last week.
And more than 200 fellows and professor level doctors have joined in starting today.
However, that was until this morning, and at 8 AM, the government issued an order to have those that work in the Seoul metropolitan area return to their hospitals so we will have to see how those doctors react.
In addition to major hospitals, local hospitals are planning to join the strike starting today.
Medical students up for the license exam have also canceled their registration in protest.
That’s all I have for you at this hour.
Back to you, Mark

Reporter : tkim@arirang.com

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