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North Korea's Kim Jong Un urges officials to maintain 'maximum alert' against COVID-19

North Korea's Kim Jong Un urges officials to maintain 'maximum alert' against COVID-19

The North's claim of being COVID-19 free has been questioned by outside experts, who say a major outbreak in the country could possibly have dire consequences because of its chronic lack of medical supplies and poor health care infrastructure

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un urged officials to maintain maximum alert against the coronavirus pandemic, criticising unspecified complacencies in the country's anti-virus campaign that he said risked unimaginable and irretrievable crisis. Despite the warnings, state media said Friday that Kim reaffirmed government claims that there hasn't been a single case of COVID-19 in North Korea.

Kim told a ruling party meeting that the country has thoroughly prevented the inroad of the malignant virus and maintained stable anti-epidemic situation despite the worldwide health crisis. The North's claim of being COVID-19 free has been questioned by outside experts, who say a major outbreak in the country could possibly have dire consequences because of its chronic lack of medical supplies and poor health care infrastructure.

Describing its anti-virus efforts as a matter of national existence, the country has shut down nearly all cross-border traffic, banned tourists, intensified screening at entry points and mobilized tens of thousands of health workers to monitor residents and isolate those with symptoms. Experts say the country's self-imposed lockdown is also hurting an economy already battered by stringent US-led sanctions over its nuclear weapons and missile programme.

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