SEOUL, April 2 (Yonhap) -- The ruling Democratic Party (DP) and the government have drawn up measures to support hospitals that have suffered financial difficulties while treating patients infected with the new coronavirus, officials said Thursday.
The ruling party and government officials agreed to come up with a set of support measures totaling 2.2 trillion won (US$1.8 billion) for medical institutions in a bid to ease financial and administrative difficulties over the new coronavirus.
Under the measures, hospitals handling COVID-19 patients will be paid health insurance benefits faster than usual. The government plans to help cover some of their financial losses.
As designated hospitals have to focus on the treatment of coronavirus patients, some have suffered financially due to their inability to treat outpatients and other people.
In the event that COVID-19 infections occur at medical institutions, they are required to follow quarantine measures, including temporary closure, thereby incurring financial losses.
The government has allocated 274.5 billion won to assist medical institutions through an extra budget and reserve funds.
Of the budget, some 106.1 billion won will be spent to support and set up facilities, such as virus test centers, and 134 billion won will be used for medical supplies and to support staff, according to party officials.
South Korea has reported 9,976 cases of the new coronavirus since the first case on Jan. 20.
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