April 9 (UPI) -- North Korea has completed foundational work on a new hospital in Pyongyang amid the coronavirus pandemic, state media said Thursday.
Korean Workers' Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun reported Thursday foundational construction on the new Pyongyang General Hospital finished in 20 days, ahead of schedule.
The report comes after Kim Jong Un suggested last month medical facilities in the regime were inadequate to cope with an epidemic. Pyongyang has claimed there are zero cases of COVID-19 in the country, but has also disclosed it has quarantined hundreds of people without providing details about the reasons for the measures.
North Korea has said the goal is to complete the hospital by October, when the Workers' Party of Korea is expected to mark its 75th anniversary.
State media has highlighted the rapid construction of the hospital as an example of the regime's achievements.
"Military builders worked in an area measuring hundreds of thousands of cubic meters, and gave birth to an innovation by completing the excavation five days ahead of schedule," KCNA said Wednesday.
The Pyongyang news agency also said builders are now focused on laying down concrete. When completed, the new building will occupy an area on Munsu Street in the Taedong River district of east Pyongyang, according to South Korean news service News 1 on Thursday.
Kim made a public appearance at the construction site in March, but it is unclear whether the North Korean leader will be attending the 14th Supreme People's Assembly on Friday.
The third session of Pyongyang's rubber-stamp parliament is expected to include deliberations on the North Korean budget. Despite the risks of gathering the 687 members of the assembly amid the COVID-19 pandemic, North Korea could hold the event to show its citizens the country has overcome the health crisis, according to South Korean news service Newsis.
If Kim declines to appear at the assembly, he may deliver a message as he did in April 2019, according to the report.