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(LEAD) N. Korea seen beefing up efforts to fend off new coronavirus

All Headlines 14:21 January 25, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS more info in 6th para)

SEOUL, Jan. 25 (Yonhap) -- North Korea on Saturday stepped up efforts to prevent the spread of a new strain of the Chinese coronavirus with the cancellation of a flight between Pyongyang and Beijing, and a temporary restriction on foreign residents' trips to China.

The Rodong Sinmun, the daily of the North's ruling Workers' Party, also carried an article on the coronavirus that originated from Wuhan in central China, in an apparent effort to call for caution among North Koreans. The North has not reported any confirmed case yet.

"Recently, the damage from the new strain of the coronavirus has been expanding," the article reads.

"Media outlets in many countries have reported that its impact on the world economy could potentially be greater than that when the severe acute respiratory syndrome spread in the past," it added.

Citing a Chinese official's explanation, the paper pointed out that when one has early symptoms of the coronavirus infection, such as breathing difficulties, he or she needs immediate medical treatment.

The North's cabinet Minju Choson also called on people to take extra care of personal hygiene, noting that the spread of the contagious disease is having a negative impact on the social development of affected countries.

The Russian Embassy in Pyongyang reportedly said in its social media post that the North's foreign ministry had notified it that an Air China flight between Pyongyang and Beijing would be canceled until Feb. 10.

The British government also said on its website that North Korean authorities have temporarily restricted travel of foreign residents to China, and tour operators have reported a government suspension of tourism to the North.

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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