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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered all cities to be put under lockdown after the state for the first time Thursday said it has Covid-19 in its borders.

“A serious situation has been created due to the introduction of a stealth omicron mutant virus into our precincts," its official Korean Central News Agency said. At a party meeting Thursday attended by Kim, authorities elevated the country’s national quarantine measures to “maximum emergency," it added.

Kim ordered “all cities and counties across the country to thoroughly lockdown their areas," so as to “completely block the transmission of malicious virus," according to KCNA.

The official KCNA news agency said samples taken from patients sick with fever in Pyongyang on Sunday were "consistent with" the virus' highly transmissible Omicron variant.

The country's top officials, including leader Kim Jong Un, held a crisis politburo meeting to discuss the outbreak and announced they would implement a "maximum emergency" virus control system.

KCNA said Kim told the meeting that "the goal was to eliminate the root within the shortest period of time."

"He assured us that because of the people's high political awareness ... we will surely overcome the emergency and win the emergency quarantine project," it said.

Kim called for tighter border controls and lockdown measures, telling citizens "to completely block the spread of the malicious virus by thoroughly blocking their areas in all cities and counties across the country," KCNA said.

All business and production activities will be organised so each work unit is "isolated" to prevent the spread of disease, it added.

The report said people in Pyongyang contracted the Omicron variant, without providing details on case numbers or possible sources of infection.

The report was published as the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un chaired a Workers' Party meeting to discuss responses to the first outbreak of the coronavirus.

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