With the proliferation of the new coronavirus infections from China, voices are mounting within the medical community, too, calling for the government to ban entry on Chinese people.
However, some doctors are questioning the appropriateness of doctors to join the general public to demand such a move.
"During the war, the nation should trust and follow the opinion and judgment of military generals. Likewise, now is the time for the government to take heed of medical experts’ opinions," the National Union of Korean Medical Doctors (NUKMD) said Wednesday. "If the government considers even a little about the lives of the people, it should implement a measure to prohibit Chinese immigration right now."
President Moon Jae-in ordered a complete enumeration of those who entered South Korea from Wuhan, China, but surveying foreigners is difficult because their locations are hard to confirm, the union said. The virus has already spread throughout China and infected more than 6,000 people, it added.
"The World Health Organization once reported that the most extended incubation period is 14 days and asymptomatic transmission may be possible, so containing the source of infection and banning entry from China is a required action," the group emphasized.
Another doctors’ group agreed. Choi Dae-zip, president of the Korean Medical Association, made a similar statement after the first meeting of the Council of Health and Medical Organizations to fight against the new coronavirus infection with the Ministry of Health and Welfare and six medical organizations on Wednesday.
“Prohibition of entry is a matter to be determined not by public opinion but by medical necessity," Choi said. “In view of medical necessity, the ban is unnecessary at this time, but if the virus rapidly spreads throughout local communities, the government should prepare to pronounce full entry ban."
On the other hand, some physicians maintained that doctors stepping forward and calling for the entry ban of Chinese people is inappropriate.
"Doctors’ request for entry ban can lead to greater chaos and international disgrace," a doctor said while requesting anonymity.