Doctors in South Korea launched a three day strike on Wednesday, August 26, despite the health-ministry issuing a return-to-work order in Seoul. Tens of thousands are taking part in protest against government plans to increase the number of medical students. The strike has been organised by the Korean Medical Association (KMA), which has 130,000 members. Similar protests have occurred since early August. On Wednesday, 163 out of 200 health facilities with trainee doctors went on strike (58.3 percent), and the country's five major hospitals are postponing some surgeries. An unknown number of neighborhood clinics have closed, with about 33 percent of clinics closed in past protests.
The strike comes amid a rise in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the country, with 320 new cases reported on Wednesday, bringing the total number of cases to 18,265, with 312 associated deaths.
Significant disruptions to medical services are to be anticipated across the country. Associated demonstrations are to be anticipated, along with a heightened security presence and localized overland travel disruptions.
Those in South Korea are advised to monitor developments to the situation, anticipate potential disruptions to the provision of medical services, avoid all public demonstrations as a precaution, and confirm medical appointments.
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