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N. Korean paper calls for improvement in healthcare amid coronavirus scare

All News 14:49 February 11, 2020

SEOUL, Feb. 11 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's official newspaper on Tuesday called for beefed-up efforts to improve the country's health care system amid deepening concern over the new coronavirus that is spreading quickly across the world.

Pyongyang is making all-out efforts to prevent the virus entering the country. North Korea's weak medical infrastructure makes its people more susceptible to the highly contagious virus, which originated in neighboring China.

"Strengthening the material and technical foundation for the healthcare system will make it possible for us to put our socialist medical system on a par with those of other advanced nations as soon as possible and help our people enjoy better medical service," the Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North's ruling party, said.

"Without securing stable supply of medical goods and equipment, our medical workers will not be able to achieve good results from their treatment projects, nor will our people be able to feel many benefits in their lives," it added.

North Korea has boasted of its free health care system but the global outbreak of the new coronavirus is calling into question its ability to deal with a virus that has killed more than 1,000 people in China alone.

Pyongyang has not reported any confirmed cases of the new coronavirus but it has intensified its preventive efforts, including tightening its borders with China and strengthening quarantine for people arriving from the neighboring country.

julesyi@yna.co.kr
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