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N.K. paper urges high-level alertness to prevent virus-caused devastation

All News 08:22 April 21, 2020

SEOUL, April 21 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's official newspaper Tuesday urged its people to stay on high alert against the coronavirus, warning that the devastation caused by the pandemic in other countries could take place anytime in the communist nation.

North Korea claims to be free from the coronavirus, but Pyongyang has ramped up calls for its people not to let their guard down in warding off the COVID-19 pandemic as it is bracing for a long fight against the infectious disease that has been sweeping around the world.

"It is impossible to see the danger of virus infection disappear in a short period of time at a time when no preventive and treatment medication has been developed," the Rodong Sinmun, the organ of the North's ruling party, said.

"We should not see the virus-caused devastating damage being daily reported from other regions as something happening out of our border just because the malignant viral disease has not entered our country," the paper added. "A little relaxation could lead to the inflow of the virus without knowing it."

North Korea has taken drastic measures at an early stage to stem the inflow of the virus, by closing its border with China and toughening quarantine measures.

Pyongyang has called for absolute obedience of state-enforced preventive guidelines, such as wearing face masks, washing hands, avoiding crowds and other activities that could spread the virus, worrying that people could loosen up amid a prolonged fight against the virus.

The North recently held a political bureau meeting of the ruling Workers' Party presided over by leader Kim Jong-un, saying it has become impossible to remove the danger of the coronavirus "in a short time" and calling for "strict national countermeasures to thoroughly check the infiltration of the virus."

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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