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North Korea lifts masks mandate after COVID-19 ‘victory’

SEOUL: North Korea has lifted a masks mandate and eased different virus restrictions, state media stated Saturday (Aug 13), days after chief Kim Jong Un declared “victory” over COVID-19.

The announcement comes after Pyongyang earlier this week blamed Seoul for inflicting the COVID-19 outbreak within the North and threatened to “wipe out” the South Korean authorities, if vital.

Virus restrictions have been eased as “the general public well being disaster created within the nation was fully defused and its entire territory was was a clear one free from the malignant virus within the shortest interval”, Pyongyang’s official Korea Central Information Company (KCNA) reported.

“The step for compulsory mask-wearing was lifted in all areas besides frontline areas and borderline cities and counties, provided that the entire nation was was an epidemic-free zone,” KCNA stated.

North Korea declared a “shining victory” over COVID-19 earlier this week simply months after saying its first circumstances in Could.

Social distancing and different anti-virus measures have been additionally lifted aside from border areas.

However individuals with signs of respiratory illness have been really helpful to put on masks and North Koreans have been urged to “stay vigilant” in opposition to “irregular issues” – apparently referring to propaganda leaflets from the South.

Regardless of a ban that took impact in 2021, South Korean activists for years have flown balloons carrying propaganda leaflets and {dollars} over the border, which the North has lengthy protested in opposition to.

Kim Yo Jong, the highly effective sister of Kim Jong Un, on Wednesday blamed these actions for the North’s COVID-19 outbreak, vowing “lethal” retaliation in opposition to Seoul.

Kim Yo Jong additionally revealed that the highest chief himself had fallen in poor health throughout the outbreak and suffered from a “excessive fever”.

North Korea has recorded almost 4.eight million “fever” circumstances – whereas solely figuring out a fraction of these as COVID-19 – since late April, with simply 74 deaths, in line with KCNA.

Specialists, together with the World Well being Group, have lengthy questioned Pyongyang’s COVID-19 statistics and claims to have introduced the outbreak beneath management.

North Korea has one of many world’s worst healthcare methods, with poorly geared up hospitals and few intensive care models, specialists say.

It isn’t believed to have vaccinated any of its 26 million inhabitants, though it could have obtained some vaccines from China, Seoul-based specialist website NK Information has reported.

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