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Kim Jong Un: N. Korea in 'great turmoil' due to COVID-19 outbreak

Kim Jong Un: N. Korea in 'great turmoil' due to COVID-19 outbreak
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un urged ruling party members to launch an all-out effort to defeat a COVID-19 outbreak in the reclusive nation. File Photo by KNCA/EPA-EFE

May 14 (UPI) -- The quickening spread of COVID-19 has plunged North Korea into the "greatest turmoil" since its founding 74 years ago, leader Kim Jong Un declared Saturday.

The official North Korean news agency KCNA said Kim told a key meeting of the ruling communist Workers' Party of Korea that an all-out effort to control the disease must be launched after 21 more people were confirmed killed by the coronavirus Friday, Japan's Kyodo news agency reported.

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The reclusive nation on Thursday announced its first outbreak of COVID-19 since January 2020 and instituted lockdown measures to curb the spread of the virus. More than 174,400 infections have now been reported nationwide, KCNA said.

At Saturday's politburo meeting, Kim told party members the situation represented the "greatest turmoil since the country's founding," and urged them to "study well the epidemic prevention policies" of China, which has instituted strict "no COVID" lockdown policies in major cities.

North Korea, he said, can "overcome the crisis" if it employs "strong organizing ability."

Kim called for "faith" that the virus crisis can be overcome soon, emphasizing it is not "uncontrollable."

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North Korea, known for its massive public events demonstrating loyalty to Kim, has held several such displays since onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in which most of the participants did not wear protective face masks, including a major military parade in Pyongyang on April 25.

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