(LEAD) N. Korea claims recent fever outbreak caused by flu, not coronavirus
(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with more details; MODIFIES lead paras; ADDS byline)
By Yi Wonju
SEOUL, Aug. 26 (Yonhap) -- North Korea said Friday the latest fever cases in the northeastern province of Ryanggang were found to have been caused by influenza.
On Thursday, the North said four fever cases suspected of carrying "malignant epidemic" were reported in Ryanggang Province bordering China, raising concerns over a second coronavirus wave just two weeks after it declared victory over the crisis that began in mid-May.
"According to information from the State Emergency Epidemic Prevention Headquarters, it made clear that all the fever cases that occurred in Ryanggang Province were influenza," the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.
Health officials urged people to wear masks and report to relevant authorities without traveling or moving if they show symptoms of fever, saying that influenza can easily occur in all areas of the country.
The fever patients returned back to normal body temperature and the lockdown of the area was lifted, according to the KCNA.
The Rodong Sinmun, the North's main newspaper, urged people to remain on "maximum" alert against the global crisis and maintain "ironclad barriers" to prevent the spread of infections.
"We still have a long way to go before the emergency anti-epidemic work is over," it said.
The paper called on officials and workers to "fulfill their responsibilities and roles" by tightening their antivirus efforts and following quarantine guidelines.
On Aug. 10, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un declared victory over COVID-19 and ordered the lifting of the country's "maximum emergency anti-epidemic" measures.
Pyongyang had claimed to be coronavirus-free for over two years amid the global outbreak before announcing its first COVID-19 case on May 12.
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