North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has hailed his country’s “shining success” in dealing with Covid-19, according to state news agency KCNA. Speaking at a politburo meeting, Kim said the country had “prevented the inroad of the malignant virus and maintained a stable situation”.
North Korea closed its borders and put thousands into isolation six months ago as the virus swept across the globe. It claims that it has no virus cases, though analysts say this is unlikely. Whatever the reality of the situation, Pyongyang wants to appear confident that it has crushed Covid-19.
Kim is said to have “analyzed in detail the six month-long national emergency anti-epidemic work” and said the success in handling the virus was “achieved by the far-sighted leadership of the Party Central Committee”.
But he stressed the importance of maintaining “maximum alert without… relaxation on the anti-epidemic front”, adding that the virus was still present in neighboring countries. “He repeatedly warned that hasty relief of anti-epidemic measures will result in unimaginable and irretrievable crisis,” said the KCNA report on Friday.
North Korea has now reopened schools, but has kept a ban on public gatherings and made it compulsory for people to wear masks in public places, said a Reuters report on 1 July quoting a World Health Organization official.