Kim of North Korea appeals for the prevention of natural calamities and COVID-19 breakouts.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un encouraged measures on Friday to prevent natural disasters or coronavirus outbreaks from harming the economy as he convened a meeting of the ruling party’s politburo.

The agenda at the summit in Pyongyang on Thursday was dominated by economic objectives, according to the KCNA news agency.

The country’s economy has been battered by international sanctions and self-imposed border and movement lockdowns aimed at preventing a coronavirus outbreak. Seasonal heavy rains and typhoons have raised further concerns about damage to food supplies.

“(Kim) underlined the need to take thorough-going measures to overcome abnormal climate the danger of which has become higher in recent years,” KCNA said.

Among the work Kim called for were river improvement, reforestation for erosion control, dyke maintenance and tide embankment projects.

North Korea has not confirmed any COVID-19 cases, but closed borders and imposed strict prevention measures, seeing the pandemic as a matter of national survival.

“The present dangerous situation of the worldwide pandemic which keeps spiralling out of control demands tighter nationwide epidemic prevention,” Kim said, according to KCNA. “Tightening epidemic prevention is the task of paramount importance which must not be loosened even a moment under the present situation.”

According to international officials, North Korea has turned down shipments of China’s Sinovac Biotech COVID-19 vaccine, as well as doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine.

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