Kim Jong Un claims ‘victory’ over COVID, blames South Korea


North Korean leader lifts pandemic restrictions as senior official says death toll of 74 an ‘unprecedented miracle’ in world health.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has declared “victory” in his country’s battle against COVID-19 and ordered pandemic restrictions, imposed in May, to be lifted.

Presiding over a meeting with health workers and scientists, Kim announced a “victory … in the war against the malignant pandemic disease,” a news agency reported on Thursday.

His powerful sister Kim Yo Jong also spoke at the Pyongyang meeting, blaming the outbreak on anti-Pyongyang leaflets flown across the border by activists from South Korea.

“We must counter it toughly,” she said. “We have already considered various counteraction plans, but our countermeasure must be a deadly retaliatory one.”

The isolated country, which has mostly kept its borders closed since the start of the pandemic in 2020, revealed in May that it was battling an outbreak of the Omicron variant and imposed a “maximum emergency epidemic prevention system”.

It has reported no new cases of the virus since July 29.


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