North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un Friday refused to allow any foreign aid for the country’s flood-hit areas in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Addressing Political Bureau of the 7th Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, Kim said: “The situation, in which the spread of the worldwide malignant [COVID-19] virus has become worse, requires us not to allow any outside aid for the flood damage but shut the border tighter and carry out strict anti-epidemic work,” state-run Korean Central News Agency reported.

At least 39,296 hectares of land was marooned due to the ongoing rainy season and Kangwon, North and South Hwanghae provinces and Kaesong City were hit badly.

At least 16,680 houses and over 630 public buildings were destroyed or inundated besides roads, bridges and railway sections were damaged. A power-generating dam “gave way” thus “severely damaging various sectors of the national economy”, the news report said

Kim also asked officials to “prevent any violation of anti-epidemic rules among inhabitants in the flood-hit area and those mobilized for the rehabilitation work”.

The political bureau meeting also decided to lift a three-week lockdown from border Kaesong town where a North Korean citizen, who had fled to South Korea, returned home last month. North Korea has reported no coronavirus case in the country.

Meanwhile, Kim has named new prime minister for the country’s cabinet.

In a new decree issued by Kim-led State Affairs Commission on Thursday, Kim Tok Hun is the new premier who replaced Kim Jae Ryong.

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