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Seoul monitoring possible change in N. Korea's COVID-19 policy, lockdown

North Korea 13:46 January 10, 2022

SEOUL, Jan. 10 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's unification ministry said Monday it's closely watching a possible change in North Korea's anti-coronavirus policy, such as the lifting of its strict border closure, after Pyongyang's main newspaper said the country will shift to more "advanced" antivirus measures from the current control-focused approach.

"We need to move to a better advanced, people-oriented epidemic work from one that focused on control measures," the Rodong Sinmun newspaper said. It did not elaborate on the new measures.

Lee Jong-joo, the spokesperson for the unification ministry, said the government will keep a tab on the North's border situations following the suggested policy change.

"The government will continue monitoring how the North's newly proposed advanced, people-oriented antivirus measures will materialize, especially if they will lead to a change in its current control-focused policy, including a border lockdown," Lee told a regular press briefing.

Pyongyang has imposed a strict border closure since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and claims to be coronavirus-free.

During a major party gathering last month, the North said fighting the pandemic will be the "top priority" for the new year and vowed to put its "epidemic prevention on a scientific foundation."

This photo taken from an observatory in the South Korean border city of Paju on Jan. 7, 2022, shows the North Korean town of Kaepung on the western front-line border with South Korea. (Yonhap)

scaaet@yna.co.kr
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