Lawmakers worried about health minister’s long vacancy

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Since the inauguration of the Yoon Suk-yeol administration, the Minister of Health and Welfare has been vacant for 78 days on Wednesday.


Lawmakers raised concerns about the post’s long-term vacancy, but the Department of Health and Social Care dismissed those concerns.


The Minister of Health and Welfare has remained vacant since the Yoon Suk-yeol administration took office in May.


Members of the National Assembly’s Health and Welfare Committee expressed their concerns about the vacancy of the Minister of Health through a written questionnaire at a meeting on August 2.


Representative Nam In-soon of the Democratic Party of Korea asked if the government had a plan to “minimize the vacuum of the Minister of Health and Welfare”.


The Health Ministry said, “Even though we don’t have a minister, the first and second deputy ministers lead the ministry to carry out health and welfare tasks smoothly.”


The ministry noted that senior officials were holding daily meetings to respond to Covid-19 and check on health and welfare issues.


“Internally, we encourage all employees to establish civil service discipline and focus on their work,” the ministry added.


Still, Representative Choi Young-hee of the People Power Party pointed out that a long-term health minister vacuum could harm the nation’s response to Covid-19.


In response, the Ministry of Health said the Central Disaster Relief and Security Measures Headquarters (CDSCH), headed by Prime Minister Han Duck-soo, was in charge of the government’s response to Covid-19. .


The ministry said the central disaster management headquarters and CDSCH are responding to the pandemic together.


Choi also asked if the recent failure to appoint the Minister of Health has affected the recent resurgence of Covid-19 cases.


The ministry said the daily increase in Covid-19 cases was due to epidemiological and environmental factors, including the spread of highly transmissible variants of the virus and the weakening effects of vaccinations.


The ministry said vice ministers, the commissioner of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency and quarantine experts established measures in July to tackle the virus resurgence and improve medical care.


Candidate for premier of health Chung Ho-young, a former head of Kyungpook National University Hospital, has withdrawn from the nomination amid controversy over his children’s admission to college. university medicine.


The second candidate, Kim Seung-hee, a former lawmaker, also backed out of the nomination after being accused of using her political funds for personal gain.

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