My name is Kyoung-min Min. I am currently working as a public health doctor in Yeongdong-gun, Chungcheongbuk-do. Let me tell you about what I have experienced in Daegu lately, where COVID-19 was most seriously outbroken in Korea.
Actually, I had never expected that I would go there to work. However, on Friday, February 21st, at 8 p.m., I received an emergency official document while resting at home after a week of work. It read, “25 people out of the public health doctors working for Chungcheongbuk-do must be selected to transfer to Daegu where COVID-19 was most seriously outbroken in Korea. Make a list of 25 doctors who should be transferred by today, and they should show up at Daegu City Hall tomorrow morning”
A lengthy meeting continued in the midst of a difficult situation in which no one could easily accept being transferred to Daegu right by the next morning, but the name list for it was finally completed past 11 o'clock. My name was listed there and I was one of the 25 transferred doctors.
Feeling like a soldier being dragged to the battlefield, I headed to Daegu after 7 hours since then. The situation was worse than I thought. Hundreds of confirmed patients were newly counted in Daegu every day, and the duty of tracking the infected patients’ movements and collecting their samples fell entirely on us, the temporarily transferred public health doctors.
My job was visiting the infected patients’ home and collecting their samples and I visited the Shincheonji church goers’ and inspected them for two weeks. Since they were under quarantine, they could not go outside, so I had to visit their home to inspect them.
I felt so stuffy and uncomfortable because I had to take samples with the level D protective clothing on. I had to repeatedly wear it and take it off each time. On the first day, I was so exhausted that I slept until the next morning after work. However, the more I worked, the more I felt it was my mission to perform for the people suffering from COVID-19. The two weeks had passed more quickly than I expected. After I came back from the two-weeks’ dispatch, I had to be under self-isolation for 2 weeks.
Now I hear the number of the newly confirmed patients has decreased significantly. I feel it would not have been possible without the dedication of the whole nation as well as the medical practitioners. Although my dispatch is over, many medical staff all over the country are still struggling with COVID-19. Until the day when COVID-19 is completely ended, I think for sure that we need not only the doctors’ dedication, but the whole nation’s cooperation. I hope we can overcome this crisis as soon as possible with our thorough vigilance.