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N. Korea's paper reports on WHO's advice against using Wuhan in naming coronavirus

All News 14:17 February 10, 2020

SEOUL, Feb. 10 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's official newspaper on Monday reported on the World Health Organization's recommendation not to use "Wuhan" in naming the new coronavirus that originated in the central Chinese city in an apparent bid to avoid stigmatizing the city of its close ally.

The Geneva-based U.N. body made the recommendation during a press briefing last week, with an official saying, "It is the responsibility of us all to ensure that there is no stigma associated with this disease, and the unnecessary and unhelpful profiling of individuals based on ethnicity is utterly and completely unacceptable."

The Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North's ruling party, carried an article featuring the WHO's recommendation and advice against stigmatizing people based on the disease.

The report did not provide its own view on the WHO action, but experts say the article reflects Pyongyang's consideration of its close relations with China and its support for Beijing's struggle against the fast-spreading virus.

North Korea's media outlets have lauded Beijing's ongoing quarantine efforts against the new coronavirus, which has claimed more than 900 lives in China alone since the outbreak was first confirmed in late December.

Earlier this month, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un sent a letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping to express support for his efforts to combat the virus and offered an unspecified "aid fund" to Beijing.

North Korea has not reported any confirmed case of coronavirus infection but it has intensified its own preventive efforts against the highly contagious virus such as by tightening its borders with China and increasing the screening of those coming from the neighboring country.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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