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North Korea declares ‘miracle’ COVID success

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has declared victory in the battle against COVID-19 and ordered a lifting of the nation’s maximum anti-epidemic measures imposed in May, state media KCNA says.

North Korea has not revealed how many confirmed infections of the virus it has found, but since July 29 it has reported no new suspected cases with what international aid organisations say are limited testing capabilities.

Kim said North Korea’s official death rate of 74 people is an “unprecedented miracle” compared to other countries, KCNA reported.

Experts have said the North’s numbers are unlikely to show the whole picture.

Its declaration of victory comes despite rolling out no known vaccine program.

Instead, the country says it relied on lockdowns, homegrown medicine treatments, and what Kim called the “advantageous Korean-style socialist system”.

He ordered the lifting of maximum anti-pandemic measures, but said North Korea must maintain a “steel-strong anti-epidemic barrier and intensify the anti-epidemic work until the end of the global health crisis”.

Kim’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, said the North Korean leader himself had suffered from fever symptoms, and blamed leaflets from South Korea for causing the outbreak, KCNA reported.

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