Coronavirus Threatens North Korea’s Weak Health System
North Korea is among a small number of countries in the world reporting to be free of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. The country is also among those least prepared for a coronavirus outbreak.
Katharina Zellweger is the director of KorAid, a non-governmental organization based in Hong Kong. She said that North Korea closed its border with China at the end of January, quarantined foreigners and enforced travel restrictions within the country.
She explained that North Korea took these measures early because officials there are afraid the country cannot deal with a virus spread. She added, "I do think the North Korean government is very well aware of how weak their health care system is."
North Korea rated very poorly in a 2019 study by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. The country placed 193rd out of the 195 countries included in the yearly examination. Only Somalia and Equatorial Guinea were found to be more insecure. The center released the report in October.
The study measured each country's level of preparedness for a major infectious disease spread. North Korea scored a zero in infection control plans and measures and availability of equipment.
An expert on North Korea's health care system told VOA that "the system of testing and diagnosing an infectious disease is nonexistent in North Korea. The expert, who did not want to be identified, said only a few hospitals can carry out blood tests.
Kee Park is a teacher at Harvard Medical School in the American state of Massachusetts. He spoke at a recent meeting held by the U.S. Institute of Peace. He said, "North Korea's medical system is fragile and weak, and they're only able to treat only a handful of critically ill patients."
Park has been working with North Korean doctors for the past 13 years in medical aid programs. He noted new models by Imperial College London help show how COVID-19 cases in North Korea would quickly grow beyond its hospital system's treatment abilities.
Park said he thinks "the North Koreans succeeded" in stopping COVID-19. He said North Korean officials should continue with preventative measures until a vaccine or other treatment is available.
The World Food Program recently reported that North Korea faces damage to its economy because of the COVID-19 crisis. Aid workers say the crisis is already creating related problems, especially in production and transport of agricultural goods.
Scott Snyder is director of the U.S.-Korea Policy Program at the Council on Foreign Relations. He warns that North Korea's COVID-19 quarantine measures may give more control to the government.
He said, "Quarantine increases the scarcity of goods and in turn increases internal dependency on the leadership."
I'm Jonathan Evans.
1.agricultural goods 农产品
This is the first time China has imposed duties on imports of agricultural goods on the grounds of alleged subsidies.
2.foreign relations 外交关系
He was on the Council of Foreign Relations.
3.medical aid 医疗援助
The United Nations has rushed medical aid and food to the famine zone.
4.a small number of 少量的
A small number of firms have ceased trading.
5.She explained that North Korea took these measures early because officials there are afraid the country cannot deal with a virus spread.
take measures 采取措施
Our government is trying to take measures to prevent and control pollution.
If he refuses to pay I shall take measures against him.
6.She explained that North Korea took these measures early because officials there are afraid the country cannot deal with a virus spread.
deal with 处理；应对
He's a hard man to deal with.
I don't want to deal with these imbeciles any longer.
据报道，朝鲜是全球少数几个没有出现新型冠状病毒肺炎的国家之一 。新型冠状病毒肺炎是一种由新型冠状病毒引起的疾病 。该国也是应对这次疫情最不充分的国家之一 。
凯瑟琳娜·齐薇格(Katharina Zellweger)是总部设在香港的非政府组织KorAid的负责人 。她说，朝鲜在1月底关闭了中朝边境，对入境外国人进行了隔离，并实施了国内旅行限制 。
她解释称，朝鲜之所以提早采取这些措施，是因为朝鲜官员担心该国无力应对新型冠状病毒的蔓延 。她补充说，“我认为，朝鲜政府非常清楚自身的医疗体系有多么薄弱 。”
总部位于美国的约翰霍普金斯大学健康安全中心2019年发布的一份报告中，朝鲜的（健康安全指数）排名很低 。该国在195个国家中排名第193位，仅略好于索马里和赤道几内亚 。该中心在10月份发布了这份报告 。
这项研究评估了每个国家应对重大传染病传播的能力 。朝鲜在感染控制计划、措施以及可用设备方面为零分 。
一名研究朝鲜医疗保健系统的专家对美国之音表示，朝鲜不存在检测和诊断传染病的医疗系统 。这位不愿透露姓名的专家指出，只有少数几家医院能够进行血液检测 。
朴基（Kee Park）是美国马萨诸塞州哈佛医学院的教师 。他在美国和平研究所最近举行的一次会议上做出上述言论 。他表示，“朝鲜的医疗系统无力而脆弱，他们只能治疗少数危重病人 。”
过去13年来，朴基一直在医疗援助项目中与朝鲜的医生合作 。他指出，伦敦帝国理工学院的新模型有助于显示，朝鲜病例将如何以爆发式增长，超出其医院系统的负荷能力 。
朴基表示，他认为朝鲜在阻止新冠肺炎蔓延方面是“成功的” 。他说，朝鲜官员应该继续采取预防措施，直到获得疫苗或其他治疗方法 。
世界粮食计划署最近报告称，朝鲜的经济因新冠肺炎危机而受到损害 。救援人员表示，这场危机已经造成了相关的问题，尤其是在农产品的生产和运输方面 。
斯科特·斯奈德(Scott Snyder)是美国对外关系委员会的对韩政策项目主任 。他警告称，朝鲜的疫情隔离措施可能会给政府带来更多控制权 。