North Korea’s Kim berates those responsible for virus’ ‘serious’ failure – .

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North Korea’s Kim berates those responsible for virus’ ‘serious’ failure – .


SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un berated senior ruling party and government officials for their failures in tackling the coronavirus, which has created a “huge crisis” for the country, reported the official media.

The alleged “serious incident” in North Korea’s fight against the pandemic was not made clear in Wednesday’s report from the official North Korean Central News Agency.

North Korea has claimed to have had zero cases of coronavirus infection throughout the pandemic, despite testing thousands of people and sharing a porous border with its ally and economic lifeline, China , where the first cases of COVID-19 were confirmed at the end of 2019.

KCNA said Kim made the comments at a ruling Workers’ Party Politburo meeting he called to discuss the failures of the antivirus. He said Kim has criticized senior officials for their supposed incompetence, irresponsibility and passivity in planning and executing anti-virus measures amid a growing pandemic.

“By disregarding important party decisions that called for organizational, material, scientific and technological measures to support protracted anti-epidemic work in the face of a global health crisis, officials caused a serious incident that created a huge crisis for the security of the country and its people, ”Kim said, paraphrasing the KCNA.

While North Korea has told the World Health Organization it has found no coronavirus infections after testing more than 30,000 people, experts largely doubt its claim to a perfect record, given the country’s poor health infrastructure and its links with China.

Since the start of the pandemic, North Korea has described its anti-virus efforts as a “matter of national existence,” has banned tourists, fired diplomats and severely curtailed cross-border trafficking and commerce. The lockdown has further strained an economy already plagued by decades of mismanagement and crippling US-led sanctions against the country’s nuclear weapons program.

Kim at a political conference earlier this month called on authorities to prepare for extended COVID-19 restrictions, saying the country is not ready to open its borders anytime soon despite its economic difficulties.

The extension of border controls in the North comes in a context of uncertainty as to the country’s vaccination prospects. COVAX, the UN-backed program to ship COVID-19 vaccines around the world, said in February that the North could receive 1.9 million doses in the first half of the year, but plans were delayed due to global shortages.

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