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N. Korea's paper says border control tightened to fight virus

North Korea 13:36 July 07, 2020

SEOUL, July 7 (Yonhap) -- North Korea is beefing up its border control to prevent an outbreak of the coronavirus, the country's state newspaper said Tuesday, after leader Kim Jong-un called for "maximum alert" against the highly contagious disease.

Last week, Kim held a politburo meeting and urged people not to lower their guard against COVID-19, saying that premature easing of anti-virus measures will lead to an "unimaginable and irretrievable crisis."

North Korea has "completely shut down its border, territorial air and sea and continues to strengthen its work to completely prevent the flow of the new coronavirus," the Minju Joson, the official paper of the North's cabinet, said in an article.

"We are making preemptive countermeasures to strengthen surveillance on borders and along the coastline," the paper added.

North Korea has taken relatively fast and drastic countermeasures to block the flow of the coronavirus since late January, including closing its borders and beefing up quarantine criteria.

Some signs have been spotted recently that the North might be easing up on border control believed to be wreaking havoc on its economy, but the latest report indicated that the North is keeping its tight border lockdown in place.

The paper said the North is also enforcing strict rules to sanitize and incinerate any items coming into the country via water or air, apparently referring to anti-Pyongyang leaflets and other items sent by activists in South Korea. North Korea has blasted the leafleting for hampering its anti-virus efforts.

The paper warned people against lowering their guard, saying the biggest enemy in an anti-virus campaign is complacency and excessive confidence.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un presides over a Politburo meeting of the ruling Workers' Party at the headquarters of the party's Central Committee in Pyongyang on July 2, 2020, in this photo released by the North's official Korean Central News Agency on July 3. Kim called for "maximum alert" against the new coronavirus, warning that premature easing of anti-virus measures will lead to an "unimaginable and irretrievable crisis," according to the agency. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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