North Korea is stepping up efforts to combat Covid and urged citizens not to let their guard down despite insisting it's never had a single positive case.
The state-run Korean Central Broadcasting Station (KCBS) told people to stay alert in education settings, construction sites and agricultural fields as reports of new variants emerge across the globe.
The country has claimed to be Covid-free throughout the pandemic but has taken swift and tough measures, including imposing strict border controls since last year.
KCBS said: "We are putting foremost priority in tightening antivirus efforts to proactively spot any flaws that could come up on the socio-economic front and to immediately report even the slightest problem as our struggle to achieve the five-year economic plan is in full swing."
Last week, state media reported the North is stepping up measures to prevent Covid amid speculation it could be preparing for the easing of border restrictions.
It appears to be strengthening efforts after the country marked the birthday of late founder Kim Il-Sung earlier this month with celebratory events and performances.
Stricter measures are being implemented in its northeastern border city of Hoeryong in North Hamgyong Province, writes Yonhap News.
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North Korea is one of the few counties in the world to not record a single case of Covid so far.
In February it was announced that it would receive nearly two million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for the first half of 2021, according to COVAX vaccine-sharing programme.
The majority of the Pacific Islands and Turkmenistan are yet to record a single coronavirus case.
However, doubts over the claims are due to the reputation for heavy state censorship.
Last July, leader Kim Jong Un hailed the nation's "shining success" in dealing with the pandemic.
He said his country had "prevented the inroad of the malignant virus and maintained a stable situation."
But a US military commander based in South Korea said it's "untrue" and having zero Covid cases is an "impossible claim".
A North Korean expert told the BBC it was likely there have been positive cases but unlikely an outbreak has occurred.
Earlier this month, Pak Myong-su, a director at North Korea's Central Emergency Anti-epidemic headquarters, told news agency AFP: "Not one single person has been infected with the novel coronavirus in our country so far."
"We have carried out pre-emptive and scientific measures such as inspections and quarantine for all personnel entering our country and thoroughly disinfecting all goods, as well as closing borders and blocking sea and air lanes."
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