Kim Jong-un has warned North Korean authorities to prepare for the dangers posed to the country by the coronavirus pandemic and a looming typhoon
Kim’s appearance at a party meeting comes after widespread speculation over his health. North Korea has not confirmed any Covid-19 cases and it is thought that a large outbreak would have a devastating effect on the impoverished nation.
Meanwhile Typhoon Bavi is expected to hit North Korea later this week.
Speaking at a meeting of the politburo on Tuesday, Kim, who was smoking a cigarette, said there were “some shortcomings” in the state’s efforts to keep out the “malignant virus”.
Pyongyang for a long time insisted there were no infections in the country, though observers doubted this. No cases have been declared, but its media have not repeated the claim for several weeks now.
There had been a lockdown in one border city near South Korea after a suspected case, but the infection was never officially confirmed.
Kim Jong-un’s appearance came amid rumours about his health and that he had delegated some of his authority to his sister Kim Yo-jong.
Speculation about his health is not unusual but has so far always turned out to be false.