North Korea opens newly renovated hospital during ‘mask-on’ ceremony

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May 20 (UPI) — North Korea held an opening ceremony for a new hospital in South Hamgyong Province.

Korean Workers’ Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun featured the ceremony on its front page Thursday, describing the People’s Hospital of South Hamgyong Province as a renovation or a remodeling.

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“The People’s Hospital of South Hamgyong Province has been newly transformed into a general medical service facility for the improvement of the health of the people,” the Rodong said.

Photos of the ceremony showed North Korean provincial officials, medical staff and local residents. Officials were seen wearing masks during the outdoor event, presumable as a precaution for COVID-19 transmission.

The Rodong said the hospital is to “contribute to the practice of accessing socialist healthcare among the working class and the people of the province.”

“Let the benefits of socialist healthcare touch the lives of true citizens,” the newspaper said.

Photos published in the paper showed a six-story building, flanked by two four-story buildings. Images published Thursday of the interior showed brightly painted treatment rooms, an operating room and examination rooms.

Kim Jong Un did not attend the ceremony. State media reported that Ri Jong Nam, the secretary of the Party Committee of South Hamgyong Province, Kim Yong Sik, the province’s People’s Committee chairman, and Jang Tok Yong, the hospital’s president, participated in the event

North Korea previously highlighted new hospitals under construction.

According to South Korean news service News 1, the regime said in October construction that had begun for a new People’s Hospital in Samjiyon City.

Kim initially called for the building of a new Pyongyang General Hospital in March 2020, but the project in the regime’s capital disappeared from state media coverage after Kim rebuked subordinates for “shoddy construction.”