Millennium Post

Kim admits troubled medical system amid virus fears

Seoul: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un acknowledged that his country lacks modern medical facilities and called for urgent improvements, state media said Wednesday, in a rare assessment of the North's health care system that comes amid worries about the Coronavirus in the impoverished country.

Outside experts say a Coronavirus epidemic in the North could be devastating due its chronic lack of medical supplies and outdated health care infrastructure. Kim's comments were made during a ceremony Tuesday marking the start of construction on a new hospital.

North Korea has engaged in an intense campaign to guard against the new virus, though it has steadfastly maintained that no one has been sickened, a claim many foreign experts doubt.

During a groundbreaking ceremony for a "modern general hospital" in Pyongyang, the capital, Kim said it's "crucial" for the state's efforts to be directed "to prop up the field of public health, according to the North's official Korean Central News Agency, or KCNA.

It cited Kim as saying the construction must be completed before October's 75th founding anniversary of the ruling Workers' Party.

Kim said the ruling party decided on building the hospital during a key party meeting in late December and was working to have it finished "in the shortest time."

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