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S.Korean PM urges efficient hospital bed management amid Covid surge

Seoul, Nov 19 (IANS) South Korean Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum on Friday called for for efficient hospital bed management as the country continued to witness a rising number of critically ill Covid-19 patients amid no signs of a dip in daily infections.

Kim said the government's priority will be swiftly adding hospital beds and supporting medical resources needed at hospitals as quickly as possible, reports Yonhap News Agency.

"There are concerns that our journey to return to normalcy may stop for a while if we cannot overcome this crisis," Kim said during a meeting with chiefs of 22 tertiary hospitals in the Seoul metropolitan area.

"We will improve our hospital bed management system."

The Prime Minister's call comes amid rising concerns over critical care bed capacity in the capital area that accounts for about 80 per cent of South Korea's daily Covid-19 cases.

As of Thursday, 78.2 per cent of intensive care beds in the capital area were in use, with Seoul recording 80.9 per cent.

The number of critically ill patients has been going up, with the latest tally surpassing 500, in recent weeks after the country started its "living with Covid-19" scheme this month with eased social distancing for people's gradual return to normal life.

Serious patients will be sent to available intensive care beds regardless of whether they are in the capital or non-capital areas, Kim said.

He also asked hospitals to quickly transfer intensive care virus patients to normal recovery rooms when their health condition improves.

Kim earlier said the number of intensive care unit beds in use seems too big compared with the actual number of critically ill virus patients.