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N.K. paper warns against alcohol-related misconduct amid anti-coronavirus efforts

All News 17:42 March 30, 2020

SEOUL, March 30 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's main newspaper on Monday warned its people against alcohol-related misconduct, days after an official was dismissed for duty negligence amid the country's efforts to prevent an outbreak of the coronavirus.

The Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the North's ruling Workers' Party, made the appeal in an editorial, saying, "We must fight strongly against the infiltration of immoral and uncivilized lifestyles into our country."

It also warned against "indecent acts" by those under the influence of alcohol and those with uncivilized manners in public spaces, such as theaters.

Earlier, the paper carried an unusual report saying an official from the Kangwon Province had been expelled from the party for unspecified alcohol-related misconduct and negligence of duty in violation of coronavirus quarantine measures.

It is rare for state media to openly criticize an official for dereliction of duty related to alcohol.

The article was seen as a warning towards officials and people to tighten their discipline, as efforts to prevent an outbreak of the virus in the North have been ongoing for over two months in an economy already faltering under international sanctions.

In late January, North Korea declared the launch of a national emergency system against the new coronavirus, calling such preventive efforts a "political matter" that could determine the fate of the country.

Since then, it has stepped up efforts to prevent an outbreak, shutting down its border with China, where the virus originated, and toughening quarantine procedures for foreigners.

Concerns are lingering, however, that North Korea could be vulnerable as it shares a long and porous border with China, and lacks key medical supplies and infrastructure to test and treat infected people.

This photo, released by the North's Korean Central News Agency on Jan. 22, 2020, shows a new propaganda poster highlighting the important tasks set forth at the fifth plenary meeting of the 7th Central Committee of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party early this year. This poster reads, "Self-reliance. Self-prosperity. Let's break through all hardships that hinder our progress." (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

julesyi@yna.co.kr
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