|At a teleconference, Ahn Cheol-soo, on the monitor, speaks to his followers at People's Party headquarters in Seoul, Monday morning. Yonhap|
By Park Si-soo
Ahn Cheol-soo, a doctor-turned-politician who has ventured into coronavirus-hit Daegu to offer medical assistance, has given a tearful first-hand account of an infected woman who had to bid a permanent farewell to her husband from a distance.
Ahn shared the story with his followers in a teleconference at People's Party headquarters in Seoul on Monday morning.
"I feel stuffy, can't breathe properly," he quoted the woman as saying. Ahn said he mistook it for a respiratory difficulty that coronavirus patients normally experienced and asked her about other symptoms.
She shook her head slowly and spoke in a calm but broken voice.
"I mean my husband died yesterday … I was informed of his death yesterday. Since then I have felt stuffy like something is clogging my airway," she told Ahn.
|Ahn Cheol-soo, right, in full protective gear at Daegu Dongsan Hospital in coronavirus-hit Daegu, on March 3. Yonhap|
According to Ahn, the couple tested positive for the virus together but each has been treated at a different hospital.
"Once his body is cremated, I won't be able to see him forever," she told Ahn. "Now I can't even attend his funeral because I am infected. There are no words for this situation."
The bodies of virus victims must be cremated.
Ahn said her account had left him helpless for a while.
"There was no way to console her," he said. "Nothing would be able to mend her broken heart."
He said the woman's tearful account had given him a moment to think of the role of politics and missions for himself, especially in times of a deadly epidemic.
"I'm doubtful that in this situation anybody in the game of politics ― either the ruling or opposition blocs ― has ever seriously pondered about the role and responsibility of a state," he said.