North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was pictured for the first time in almost a month ordering a tightening of the state’s anti-coronavirus emergency systems.
In his first public appearance in 25 days, Kim Jong-un emphasized the need to stay on high alert and step up work against epidemics, KCNA reported.
It does so amid the economic and political uncertainty caused by the global pandemic, which has further increased pressure on North Korea, which is hit by nuclear sanctions.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Hermit Kingdom has not yet registered a case of coronavirus, although its neighbors China and South Korea are badly affected and millions of people around the world are dying from Covid-19.
North Korea has been on high alert since January, with tight border controls and movements restricted.
Kim spoke on Monday during a meeting of the ruling Labor Party about the need to maintain this caution.
He spoke after North Koreans were warned to stay indoors in late October, claiming a yellow dust from China could bring the virus into the state.
The streets of the capital, Pyongyang, were reportedly largely empty after special weather reports claimed a mysterious yellow dust had spread from China with the virus.
The WHO claims that “airborne transmission can occur under certain circumstances,” but there is no evidence of a correlation between seasonal dust clouds and Covid-19.
North Korea had tested over 12,000 people and reported no confirmed cases of the coronavirus until early November.
according to WHO.
A total of 6,173 people, eight of whom were foreigners, were identified as suspected cases and 174 people were quarantined
In the last week of October, the WHO said.
More than 54 million people around the world are infected with the novel coronavirus, and 1,312,334 have died, according to a Reuters tally.