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'My husband died from coronavirus yesterday': a tearful account from Daegu

At a teleconference, Ahn Cheol-soo, on the monitor, speaks to his followers at People's Party headquarters in Seoul, Monday morning. Yonhap
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
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.


At a teleconference, Ahn Cheol-soo, on the monitor, speaks to his followers at People's Party headquarters in Seoul, Monday morning. Yonhap
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
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.


Park Si-soo pss@koreatimes.co.kr

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