At a MERS-related meeting
Venue: Seoul City Hall
Today marks the 60th Memorial Day of the nation. Today I paid a visit to the National Cemetery to pay homage to those buried there. My visit refreshed my resolve to work hard to protect people’s life and safety.
This morning, my heart sank again at the news of MERS. Five more people have tested positive for MERS at Samsung Medical Center Seoul alone. I judged that we had entered in a situation similar to a semi-war state and have begun taking emergency measures.
Today is the third day after the SMG made its statement regarding the current MERS situation. At present, the relevant offices of the central government are engaged in a fight over who is telling the truth, and who should be to blame about the current situation caused by MERS. It is time that everyone did their best to put the situation under control with concerted efforts. Arguments can wait; the important thing is to protect people from the infectious disease. We at the SMG will do what we can based on that belief.
I think that Saudi Arabian Deputy Minister of Health Abdulaziz Abdullah bin Saeed made a good point about MERS: “Never wait until a person tests positive. Put all suspected patients under control.” We at the SMG will do all that we can even if some say that we are acting excessively, as this will be better than belated countermeasures.
We are currently reshuffling our organization to strengthen the function of the team taking MERS-related countermeasures, with outside experts taking part. We will strengthen the system for joint anti-MERS operations between civilians and the government, including having a dedicated team carry out a joint survey of the situation on the ground. We will improve the quality of, and increase the number of, isolation facilities. We will strengthen the medical staff. We will ask Samsung Medical Center to share all relevant information with others to prevent the spread of the infectious disease.
We also ask the central government to share their information with us and set up a strategy to cope with the situation in cooperation with us. We at the SMG are ready to work with the central government to fix this difficult situation. I will attend any meeting held to discuss how to protect people’s safety.
I ask people in Seoul to cooperate with measures taken by the relevant authorities, including us at the SMG. Please comply with requests to stay home for yourselves, your family members, and your neighbors. Please observe the guidelines related to personal hygiene and prevention of the disease contraction.
I ask all SMG officials to do your part faithfully in this extraordinary situation, as parents do to protect their children, keeping in mind that your faithful work can go a long way towards protecting people’s lives and safety.