South Korea has given doctors until tonight to end a strike, or face prosecution

240220 south korea doctors mb 0955 264c0d

South Korea’s government made a last appeal to junior doctors to end a walkout, with hours left to go before the Thursday deadline on its threats to suspend medical licenses and prosecute the strikers.

Thousands of medical interns and residents have been on strike for about 10 days to protest the government’s push to boost medical school enrollments. Government officials have warned that strikers would face legal repercussions if they don’t return to their hospitals by Thursday.

As of Wednesday night, about 9,076 of the country’s 13,000 medical interns and residents were confirmed to have left their hospitals after submitting resignations, according to the Health Ministry.

Observers say many strikers are likely to defy the deadline, continuing the labor boycott for weeks or months. The government is expected to begin formal steps toward punishments on Monday, as Friday is a national holiday.