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N. Korea tightens antivirus campaign as party congress, military parade end

North Korea 09:38 January 20, 2021

SEOUL, Jan. 20 (Yonhap) -- North Korea is stepping up antivirus efforts and tightening border control to ward off the new coronavirus, state media reported Wednesday, as major political events attended by thousands of delegates wrapped up last week in the capital city.

Pyongyang concluded the eight-day congress of the Workers' Party and held a military parade last week, during which thousands of attendees, including North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, were seen without masks.

Officials attending Sunday's meeting of the rubber-stamp legislature Supreme People's Assembly (SPA) were also seen sitting in close proximity without wearing face masks.

"We are pushing ahead with efforts to tighten control on land, sea and air borders and to introduce logical and effective ways for disinfection based on our experience in antivirus work last year," the state-run Korean Central Broadcasting Station said.

The North is "keeping order" at the border and coastal areas and notifying the relevant authorities of any objects blown by the wind or washed up on the shores, the station said.

Strict measures in disinfecting public transportation areas are also under way and medical institutions are reminding patients and people to follow antivirus rules, it added.

North Korea has claimed to be coronavirus-free, but it has taken nationwide efforts to prevent an outbreak of the contagious disease, including the border closure put in place in January last year.

In early December, state media said Pyongyang has been placed on the highest level of alert against the coronavirus, suspending the operation of public facilities, such as restaurants and public bathhouses, and restricting the movement of people in the capital.

This file photo, released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on Jan. 10, 2021, shows the fifth day of the eighth party congress. The delegates participating in the congress are seen without face masks. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)
North Korean soldiers take part in a military parade at Kim Il-sung Square in Pyongyang on Jan. 14, 2021, to celebrate the recently concluded eighth congress of the North's ruling Workers' Party, in this photo released by the North's official Korean Central News Agency the next day. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

julesyi@yna.co.kr
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