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North Korean leader Kim calls for prevention efforts against coronavirus, looming typhoon: KCNA

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SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has called for prevention efforts against the novel coronavirus and a typhoon, state news agency KCNA said on Wednesday.

An enlarged meeting of the politburo of the Workers Party took place amid a pandemic that is putting additional pressure on the North Korean economy, battered by recent border closures and flood damage.

The meeting assessed “some defects in the state emergency anti-epidemic work for checking the inroads of the malignant virus”, KCNA said in a statement.

North Korea has not reported any confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, but Kim said last month that the virus “could be said to have entered” the country and imposed a lockdown after a man was reported to have symptoms. Later test results on the man were inconclusive, according to the World Health Organisation.

Kim had this month lifted a three-week lockdown in the city of Kaesong after a suspected case of the coronavirus there.

The meeting discussed state emergency measures on preventing crop damage and casualties from Typhoon Bavi, which is expected to hit the country within days, KCNA reported. Heavy rain and flooding have raised concern about food supplies in the isolated country.

The ruling party had said it will hold a congress next year to decide a new five-year plan, after a party meeting noted serious delays in improving the national economy and living standards.

(This story was refiled to correct to Wednesday instead of Tuesday in first paragraph)

Reporting by Sangmi Cha; editing by Grant McCool

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