Thursday September 28, 2023

North Korea eases Covid restrictions

August 14, 2022

SEOUL: North Korea has lifted a mask mandate and eased other virus restrictions, state media said Saturday, days after leader Kim Jong Un declared "victory" over Covid-19.

The announcement comes after Pyongyang earlier this week blamed Seoul for causing the Covid-19 outbreak in the North and threatened to "wipe out" the South Korean authorities, if necessary.

Virus restrictions were eased as "the public health crisis created in the country was completely defused and its whole territory was turned into a clean one free from the malignant virus in the shortest period," Pyongyang’s official Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.

"The step for obligatory mask-wearing was lifted in all areas except frontline areas and borderline cities and counties, given that the whole country was turned into an epidemic-free zone," KCNA said.

North Korea declared a "shining victory" over Covid earlier this week just months after announcing its first cases in May. Social distancing and other anti-virus measures were also lifted except for border regions.

But people with symptoms of respiratory disease were recommended to wear masks and North Koreans were urged to "remain vigilant" against "abnormal things" -- apparently referring to propaganda leaflets from the South.