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N. Korea struggles with antivirus effort amid flood recovery

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. (KCNA-Yonhap)
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. (KCNA-Yonhap)
North Korea said Monday that it was exhausting all options to curb the coronavirus outbreak while at the same time taking steps to recover from recent floods that caused extensive crop damage.

“We’re are fighting on two fronts: One against the coronavirus, the other against floods,” the state newspaper said, adding that everyone helping with the recovery effort -- including the military and key party members -- was adhering to strict COVID-19 precautions.

The World Health Organization said in August that it had been informed of zero coronavirus cases in the North so far, but the WHO representative there said about 25,000 coronavirus test kits and medical supplies including thermometers and oxygen concentrators had been provided to the North.

International aid groups have shipped additional relief goods to the isolated country, where the floods have worsened its perennial food shortages.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un made a rare visit to hard-hit regions in August and September in a move seen as intended to calm public frustration over damage that has only added to the coronavirus woes.

By Choi Si-young (