PM to meet hospital chiefs in capital area over critical care bed operations

SEOUL, Nov. 18 (Yonhap) – Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum will hold a meeting with hospital administrators in the Seoul metropolitan area to discuss the operation of intensive care beds amid a rising number of seriously ill coronavirus patients, his office said Thursday.

Kim will hold an emergency meeting with the heads of 22 tertiary hospitals in the capital region on Friday to discuss the bed situation for severe COVID-19 patients following concerns about the region’s medical capacity.

The Seoul metropolitan area, including surrounding Gyeonggi Province and the western port city of Incheon, is home to half of the country’s population and accounts for 80 percent of the daily COVID-19 cases in South Korea.

The meeting comes as the country continued to see an upward trend in the number of seriously ill COVID-19 patients, with the most recent number exceeding 500 after the “Living With COVID-19” program of facilitated social distancing launched earlier this month gradual return of people to normal life.

The government has already issued an official order to secure hospital beds to deal with the rising number of serious COVID-19 cases.

Kim previously said the number of beds used in the intensive care unit seemed too large compared to the actual number of seriously ill virus patients, and urged hospitals to be flexible about allocating intensive care beds based on the patient’s condition.

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