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(LEAD) N. Korea's new suspected COVID-19 cases fall below 200: state media

North Korea 09:20 July 21, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details from 3rd para)
By Chae Yun-hwan

SEOUL, July 21 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's new suspected COVID-19 cases dropped below 200, according to its state media Thursday.

More than 170 people showed symptoms of fever over a 24-hour period until 6 p.m. the previous day, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) 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 4.77 million as of 6 p.m. Wednesday, of which 99.99 percent had recovered and at least 360 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.

This file photo released by the North's Korean Central News Agency on June 10, 2022, shows health officials spraying disinfectant at Pyongyang International Airport. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

"The state emergency anti-epidemic headquarters is conducting the operation and command in an integrated way to further intensify the anti-epidemic work to cope with the rapid spread of the Omicron BA.5 sub-variant in neighboring countries and regions," the KCNA said in an English-language article. "It actively adjusts measures for regional lockdown and unit quarantine and their opening on the basis of the anti-epidemic degrees set according to the spread situation of the epidemic."

The authorities are strengthening the "blockade" of border and coastal areas, it added.

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 the time by North Korean defector groups in South Korea, such as anti-Pyongyang leaflets.

Pyongyang disclosed its first COVID-19 case on May 12, after claiming to be coronavirus-free for over two years, and implemented nationwide lockdowns.

yunhwanchae@yna.co.kr
(END)

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