SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea on Thursday declared the epidemic the first coronavirus infection in more than two years as leader Kim Jong Un called for the highest level of COVID-19 immunity.
The agency said Kim had called a meeting of the Politburo of the ruling Korean Workers’ Party where members had decided to step up its anti-virus measures. During the meeting, Kim called on officials to stabilize the infection and eliminate the source of the infection as soon as possible.
Despite his decision to step up anti-virus measures, Kim instructed officials to strengthen the country’s defenses to avoid any security breaches, as well as to move ahead with scheduled construction, agricultural development and other state projects.
Kim said officials must devise measures to ease public distress and other negative situations that could be exacerbated by the increased anti-epidemic measures. Kim said that “unity of the single-minded people is the strongest guarantee that can win the fight against this epidemic,” KCNA said.
To prevent the virus from entering its territory, North Korea closed its border to almost all trade and visitors for two years, further straining its already crippled economy from decades of mismanagement and crippled US-led sanctions over its nuclear weapons and missile programs.
North Korea temporarily reopened rail freight vehicles between its border town of Sinuiju and China’s Dandong in January, but China announced last month that it would suspend trade because of concerns over the spread of COVID-19 in Dandong.
North Korea has so far avoided vaccines provided by the UN-backed COVAX distribution program, probably because it needs international monitoring.