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N. Korean paper continues to claim no coronavirus cases

All News 11:07 February 21, 2020

SEOUL, Feb. 21 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's official newspaper reaffirmed Friday that no coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the communist nation, even though the virus originating from China has spread fast in the region, including a surge in South Korea.

Hours after South Korea saw its first death from the new COVID-19 virus on Thursday, the Korean Central TV Broadcasting Station carried a report in detail about the case and reported that the number of confirmed cases in the South spiked to 104.

On Friday, the Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North's ruling party, continued to claim that the country is free from the coronavirus.

"Fortunately the new coronavirus has not entered our country yet," the paper said.

In another article by Rodong Sinmun, the paper pointed out the virus "began to spread rapidly to many areas out of the boundaries of control" in South Korea.

Meari, one of the North's propaganda websites, also carried a report citing Song In-bom, a North Korean health ministry official, as saying "not a single person has been infected" with the virus.

The World Health Organization earlier said it has not received any report of an outbreak of the new coronavirus from North Korea's government, even though the agency relies on voluntary reporting by its member states for the official tally.

North Korea has been intensifying anti-coronavirus precautionary measures, including tightening its border with virus-stricken neighbor China and strengthening quarantine measures for foreigners arriving in the country.

julesyi@yna.co.kr
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