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(LEAD) Moon thanks nurses for dedicated services, vows full support

All News 17:49 September 02, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with mention of singer IU's ice vest donation to nurses in paras 5-6)

SEOUL, Sept. 2 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in extended his gratitude Wednesday to nurses across South Korea for their dedicated services amid the continued spread of the novel coronavirus.

He pointed out that they have been shouldering the "burden of doctors" who are in a prolonged strike against the government's medical-sector reform plans.

In addition, they are said to be facing "criticism and verbal abuse," with patients' inconvenience mounting due to the vacuum of medical treatment attributable to doctors' collective action, according to Moon.

"I am very sorry to think of nurses who have to suffer poor working conditions, increased work burden and even emotional labor," he said via his social messaging account.

President Moon Jae-in talks with officials at the National Medical Center in Seoul during his visit there on Aug. 28, 2020. (Yonhap)

He added that people are well aware of their hard work and suffering throughout the summer at special outdoor medical centers for treatment of COVID-19 patients, mentioning the news that IU, a singer and actress, has donated ice vests to nurses.

IU made the donation of around 4,600 ice vests, worth a total of 100 million won (US$84,200), to the Korean Nurse Association.

"Please do not lose your courage and cheer up," the president said.

He pledged that the government will do its best to help lessen the difficulties of nurses, including the expansion of manpower and improvement of their working conditions.

"You nurses, thank you and I love you," he said.

Many trainee doctors have been staging a walkout since Aug. 21 in protest of the government's push for such reform measures as hikes in medical school admissions and the establishment of public medical schools.

A nurse working at a Seoul community health center is clad in protective gear against the new coronavirus, in this file photo. (Yonhap)


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