Appeal to follow Kim’s order for ‘maximum alert’ against COVID-19

Seoul: North Korea’s main newspaper on Sunday made an appeal to carry out leader Kim Jong-un’s order that the country exercise “maximum alert” against the coronavirus pandemic.

Kim issued the order during a politburo meeting on June 2, warning that premature easing of anti-virus measures will lead to an “unimaginable and irretrievable crisis”.

The appeal was seen as a sign that the North’s COVID-19 situation could be serious, though Pyongyang claims there has not been a single case, reports Yonhap News Agency.

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It was the second time in three months that the North has convened a politburo meeting to discuss the coronavirus pandemic.

On Sunday, the Rodong Sinmun newspaper said all people should rise up to carry out the leader’s order.

“In a situation where the prospect of resolving the risk is uncertain, we should be on maximum alert without becoming complacent or slackening,” the paper said in an editorial, calling for “absolute” obedience to anti-virus regulations and orders.

The official Korean Central News Agency also said the country is trying to carry out anti-virus measures in a stricter manner nationwide while redoubling monitoring and disinfection efforts in regions near the sea and land borders.

Last week’s politburo meeting shows the country puts the lives of people ahead of anything else, the KCNA said.

The Minju Joson, a cabinet newspaper, also said in an editorial that virus prevention centres across the country should try to come up with detailed and timely measures in a pre-emptive manner so as to maintain the emergency virus prevention system in a stricter way.

North Korea claims to have had no coronavirus infections so far, but many outside observers suspect that Pyongyang might be hushing up an outbreak, said the Yonhap News Agency report.

The country has taken relatively drastic anti-virus measures, including closing its borders.

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