(ATTN: UPDATES with details throughout; ADDS byline)
By Yi Wonju
SEOUL, July 13 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's new suspected COVID-19 cases remained below 1,000 for the second consecutive day, according to its state media Wednesday.
More than 770 people showed symptoms of fever over a 24-hour period until 6 p.m. the previous day, the official Korean Central News Agency said, citing data from the state emergency epidemic prevention headquarters.
It did not provide information on whether additional deaths have been reported. As of July 5, the death toll had stood at 74, with the fatality rate at 0.002 percent.
The total number of fever cases since late April came to over 4.76 million as of 6 p.m. Tuesday, of which 99.96 percent had recovered and at least 1,570 others are being treated, it added.
The North's daily fever tally has been on a downward trend after peaking at over 392,920 on May 15.
The KCNA said health authorities are ramping up efforts to build a "scientifically accurate and advanced anti-epidemic foundation" against the pandemic.
"Emergency anti-epidemic units and preventive and curative organs at all levels take timely measures to confirm and cope with fever cases," it said in an English-language article.
It added new fever cases have dropped an average of 11.8 percent each day over the past week.
The authorities have also given priority to testing stations across the country and in the border areas in the supply of facilities, reagents and materials for research in COVID-19, according to the KCNA.
Earlier this month, the North claimed its coronavirus outbreak originated from "alien things" found near the inter-Korean border, alluding to balloon-carried materials sent at times by North Korean defector groups in South Korea, such as anti-Pyongyang leaflets and some aid items for ordinary people in need on the other side of the heavily fortified border.
Pyongyang disclosed its first COVID-19 case on May 12 after claiming to be coronavirus-free for over two years and implemented nationwide lockdowns.
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