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Gov't moves to designate first-tier clinics for respiratory disease care  
  • By Kwak Sung-sun
  • Published 2020.04.24 17:17
  • Updated 2020.04.24 17:27
  • comments 0

The public health authorities said Friday that they are considering designating primary medical institutions that exclusively treat respiratory diseases, in a long-term strategy to battle the new coronavirus.

During the prolonged Covid-19 pandemic, it would be best to separate patients with respiratory symptoms to prevent transmissions among hospitals, they said. Public health centers will not be enough to provide such exclusive care and designating first-tier institutions could be an option, they added.

Kim Gang-lip, general coordinator for the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters, speaks during a regular briefing on Friday.

It is quite clear that Covid-19 would remain a public health risk for a considerable amount of time, said Kim Gang-lip, vice minister of health and welfare and general coordinator for the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters, at a regular briefing.

“At least until we have a vaccine or a treatment, Covid-19 will be very threatening to our society,” Kim said.

As Covid-19 could infect medical institutions and limit their effective operations, it would be important to separate patients with respiratory diseases from others to guard medical institutions against the transmission risk and to help other patients receive adequate medical services, he emphasized.

The Covid-19 task force is discussing with health industry groups and experts to designate primary medical institutions for exclusive care of patients with respiratory diseases, Kim said.

“We are reviewing to separate people’s tracks of medical service use depending on whether they have respiratory symptoms or not,” he said. “As other general patients might not get the timely treatment in the Covid-19 crisis, we’re mulling having large hospitals block Covid-19 infection as much as possible.”

Separation of patients depending on their symptoms is likely to continue until the Covid-19 pandemic ends, Kim noted.

In doing so, the government and the medical community will have to work together to change the healthcare service use system, allocate resources accordingly, and provide rewards, he added.


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