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N. Korea ramping up production of masks, disinfectants amid coronavirus fears

All News 10:09 March 11, 2020

SEOUL, March 11 (Yonhap) -- North Korea is ramping up production of face masks, disinfectants and other personal hygiene items needed to help its people fight the new coronavirus, state media said Wednesday.

North Korea has not reported any confirmed coronavirus infection, but the country has urged its people to wear masks and step up personal hygiene as a precautionary measure against the highly contagious disease.

The Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North's ruling party, reported that all clothing and textile factories near the country's border with China have been mobilized to produce face masks.

The paper added that soap-making plants in Pyongyang have also been utilized in producing various disinfectant products in an apparent bid to meet growing demand for personal hygiene-related products amid coronavirus fears.

North Korea has shuttered its borders and tightened quarantine processes to block the outbreak of the virus that originated in its neighboring China and has been spreading across the world. The North earlier said that keeping the virus at bay is a "political matter" that will determine the fate of the country.

As the North urges its people to wear masks when going outdoors and keep a high level of personal hygiene, the country could be facing a shortage in such protective items.

International aid agencies have been pushing to provide assistance to the North presumed to be highly vulnerable to the new coronavirus due to its weak medial infrastructure.

This is one of several photos that the Korean Central News Agency released on March 4, 2020, to show North Korea's ongoing efforts to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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