North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has said failures in anti-epidemic work have led to an unspecified “grave incident” that has put the safety of the country and people at risk, state media reported.
The leader criticised top ruling party officials for neglecting their duties, in the report on Wednesday by state news agency KCNA that did not elaborate on what happened, or how it put people at risk.
Kim made the remarks at a politburo meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party on Tuesday.
“By neglecting important decisions of the party in its national emergency antivirus fight in preparations for a global health crisis, officials in charge have caused a grave incident that poses a huge crisis to the safety of the nation and its people,” the KCNA reported, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap.
North Korea has installed strict border controls and has not reported a single confirmed case of the coronavirus, though South Korean and US officials have expressed scepticism over that claim.
The country is facing one of the worst economic crises in its 73-year history, amid shortages of food and medicines and warnings of rising unemployment and homelessness.
The country’s economy has been battered by more than a year of border restrictions, flooding caused by natural disasters, and international sanctions imposed in response to the regime’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.