I’d like to begin by expressing my gratitude. We are making an all-out response to the COVID-19 outbreak at a national level, and our Armed Forces are also playing a great role in these activities. Most of all, over 1,400 military medical personnel have been mobilized to assist with quarantine measures and treat patients on the ground. That number accounts for nearly a quarter of our military’s entire medical forces. As I was briefed just before, the commissioning of the graduating cadets at the Korea Armed Forces Nursing Academy will be moved up so that the newly commissioned nursing officers can be deployed at hospitals as early as possible. In addition, preparations are being made to send in military medical doctors and public health physicians as soon as possible.
As there is a shortage of beds in Daegu and Gyeongsangbuk-do Province’s medical facilities, the Armed Forces Daejeon Hospital has been designated as a hospital to exclusively deal with infectious diseases and treat patients. The Armed Forces Daegu Hospital will also be designated for the same role and be transitioned accordingly as quickly as possible.
I’d like to extend gratitude to the military once again for doing all it can to respond to the outbreak. Protecting the people’s health and safety is the military’s inherent duty, so I ask you to continue doing your best to safeguard both military personnel and civilians.
Our military also needs to play a role in compensating for the shortage of medical professionals in Daegu and Gyeongsangbuk-do. However, the number of confirmed cases reported in the military is not small either. Therefore, I urge you to do everything possible to ensure that there are no setbacks in the management of these confirmed cases, the necessary isolation of those suspected of infection or the stemming of the spread of infections in the military.
I would like to add one more thing. Many medical personnel from our military are being deployed on the ground in order to make up for the shortage of healthcare workers in Daegu and Gyeongsangbuk-do, and they have been enduring considerable hardships. I ask you to provide full support so that they encounter no difficulties with regard to securing meals and accommodations, among other things. Since the safety of these people themselves is also important, I urge you to do your utmost to protect their safety as well.
In conclusion, military medical facilities have been mobilized to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak and make up for the insufficient medical capacities of the private sector. Confirmed civilian patients are also occupying sickbeds at military hospitals. I would also like you to work to fully inform the people about how the military is involved in many of these activities.