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N. Korea allows female workers to care for kids at home amid school closures

All News 08:45 March 04, 2020

SEOUL, March 4 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has allowed female workers to stay home if they have no other family members to take care of children after nurseries were closed and the opening of schools was postponed due to coronavirus concerns, state media reported Wednesday.

Last week, the North said that it extended the vacation for daycare centers, kindergartens and schools as part of all-out efforts to prevent the virus spreading there from China and other countries.

"With regard to the temporary suspension of the operation of daycare centers, an unprecedented measure has been taken to allow female workers without any others who can care for their kids to stay at home and take care of them," DPRK Today, a North Korean propaganda media outlet, said in an article.

It did not provide other details such as how long this will last.

The measure came as North Korea is intensifying its anti-virus efforts, though it has repeatedly claimed it has no confirmed cases of COVID-19. They include shutting down its border with neighboring China, the country at the center of the outbreak, and toughening quarantine processes not just for humans but also for goods and animals.

Uriminzokkiri, another propaganda outlet, ran a story about a foreign media article featuring efforts to disinfect cash at banks, urging North Korea to follow suit as money could be a potential carrier for the virus.

"Relevant sectors should recognize the risks that infectious diseases could be transmitted through hard currency... and take necessary measures in a preemptive manner to close any loopholes in preventive efforts," the website said.

North Korea is known to heavily depend on coins and paper rather money than credit cards.

The Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North's ruling party, also reported that the country is ramping up production of protective gear that could be more effective against viruses and bacteria and endure better.

The North has taken relatively swift preventive efforts amid concerns that it is highly vulnerable to the new coronavirus, as it shares a long and porous border with China and lacks key medical supplies and infrastructure to test and treat infected people.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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