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N. Korea's paper urges antivirus efforts in typhoon-hit areas

All News 09:56 September 14, 2020

SEOUL, Sept. 14 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's official newspaper called Monday for stepped-up antivirus efforts in typhoon-hit areas as a large number of people have been mobilized for recovery efforts.

North Korea has been scrambling to restore areas hit hard by three consecutive typhoons in recent weeks that flooded houses, streets and rice-producing regions.

State media earlier said tens of thousands of people, including elite party members in Pyongyang, have been mobilized for recovery efforts, spawning risks that they could spread the coronavirus.

"The antivirus fight is another important front line on which top priority should be placed, along with recovery from natural disasters," the Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the ruling Workers' Party, said.

"Body temperature taking and hand sanitization have been strictly enforced on workers mobilized for construction and all are required to wear masks while working in accordance with regulations," the paper added.

The paper, in particular, warned against the possibility of an outbreak along the country's coastlines through virus-contaminated trash and other items washed upon the shore.

"Due to a large amount of waste washed upon rivers and seashores caused by typhoons and flooding, the risk has increased markedly (for an outbreak of the coronavirus)," the paper said. "Special efforts are being made to strengthen the control on coastlines."

North Korea has claimed to have no coronavirus infections, but it has been swift in closing its border and has toughened quarantine criteria since early this year.

Outside experts, however, question the North's virus-free claim, citing its poor medical infrastructure and long border with China, an earlier epicenter of COVID-19.

This photo, released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on Sept. 10, 2020, shows North Korean elite party members holding a mass rally at a plaza in front of the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang on Sept. 8 to express their resolution to make all-out efforts to recover from typhoon damage in the country's eastern regions. The North has been hit by three consecutive typhoons in recent weeks, with the latest one, Haishen, lashing the country's eastern regions on Sept. 7. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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