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North Korea halts rail crossings with China, where COVID-19 is on the rise: Report

North Korea halts rail crossings with China, where COVID-19 is on the rise: Report

FILE PHOTO: Freight cars are seen at a train station in Dandong, Liaoning province, China April 21, 2021. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

SEOUL: Cross-border freight train services between North Korea and China have been suspended after a series of COVID-19 infections in the Chinese border city of Dandong, the Yonhap news agency said on Friday (Apr 29).

Authorities in Dandong decided on the suspension at North Korea's request, the agency said, citing unidentified sources.

The suspension came less than four months after North Korea eased its years-long border lockdowns against the coronavirus that began early in 2020.

International aid groups say the strict lockdowns worsened economic problems and threatened food supplies to millions.

Authorities in Seoul, the capital of neighbouring South Korea, said they were keeping watch on the situation.

"The government is closely monitoring possible changes in related moves following COVID-19 cases in Dandong region," said an official of the unification ministry, which is charged with handling relations between the two countries.

As of Wednesday, Dandong had 77 residential compounds under lockdown, while citizens in other parts of the city were asked to stay within designated areas.

The Chinese city has been combating a COVID-19 outbreak since late April, reporting 220 infections from Apr 24 to Apr 27.

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Source: Reuters/vc/ic

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