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N. Korea warns of 'catastrophic' COVID-19 crisis as other countries ease restrictions

North Korean flag (AFP-Yonhap)
North Korean flag (AFP-Yonhap)
North Korea has expressed concerns over the spread of the coronavirus and a "catastrophic public health crisis," after countries across the globe eased a set of antivirus rules as part of efforts to gradually get back to pre-pandemic normalcy.

The North's official radio broadcaster Korean Central Broadcasting Station reported Tuesday the virus situation is at a serious stage, citing "premature" decisions to lift social distancing measures against COVID-19.

"Countries that have eased most of their antivirus restrictions with expectations on vaccine inoculation are especially getting into a catastrophic public health crisis," the report said.

North Korea has been urging its people to stay on high alert against the virus outbreak as Pyongyang prepares to reopen its land border with China, which has remained closed for nearly two years to stave off the virus. The recent resurgence in virus cases could delay the North's plan to open its land routes.

The reclusive regime has claimed to be coronavirus-free and has so far reported no coronavirus cases to the World Health Organization.

"The reality warns that the world is far from getting over the danger of the pandemic and that even just a moment of complacency in antivirus efforts could lead to more catastrophic consequences," the report said.

South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases also spiked to surpass the 3,000 mark Wednesday, just shy of an all-time high, less than three weeks after it shifted to the "living with COVID-19" policy. (Yonhap)