Kim Jong-un declares ‘maximum alert’ of coronavirus despite reporting no cases

Kim Jong-un declares ‘maximum alert’ of coronavirus despite reporting no cases

Mr Kim made the announcement as he held a politburo meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party. He cautioned that a rash lifting of lockdown measures could result in an “unimaginable and irretrievable crisis,” state media reported Friday.

It was North Korea’s second politburo meeting in three months to review the country’s response to the Covid-19 crisis.

The meetings have lead to suggestions that the situation in the North could be severe, despite Pyongyang reports that there were no cases.

The summit was held on Thursday and it did not address inter-Korean relations.

“He stressed the need to maintain maximum alert without a slight self-complacence or relaxation on the anti-epidemic front, and rearrange and practice stricter anti-epidemic effort,” the Korean Central News Agency reported.

Mr Kim also made “sharp criticism of inattention, onlooking and chronic attitude getting prevalent among officials, and violation of the rules of the emergency anti-epidemic work as this work takes on a protracted character,” it added.

“He repeatedly warned that hasty relief of anti-epidemic measures will result in unimaginable and irretrievable crisis, stressing that all the sectors and units should further strengthen the emergency anti-epidemic work till the danger of pandemic incoming is completely rid of.”

The meeting also discussed the current construction of the Pyongyang General Hospital.

It convened Mr Kim was pleased with the progress in its building process as previously arranged “despite the difficult and unfavourable conditions.”

North Korea has been pushing for the hospital’s inauguration before October 10, the ruling party’s founding anniversary.

The regime said there have been no Covid-19 cases, after it took rapid action in January to avoid transmission.

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The North’s leader did not explain the reason for suspending the plans.

It comes after North Korea revealed that it has seen its lowest decline in defections on record after restrictions were introduced on the movement of people in China during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The biggest reason behind the decline is that the national borders of these countries were closed after the outbreak of the coronavirus and cross-border movement became difficult,” said Yoh Sang-key, a spokesman for Seoul’s unification ministry.

“A more professional analysis is needed, but for now the decline in the number of incoming defectors appears to be affected by the shutdown of borders in neighbouring countries after the coronavirus outbreak emerged, which made it difficult for people to travel,” he told a regular briefing.

Published at Fri, 03 Jul 2020 04:46:00 +0000