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The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) declined to participate in the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics to protect athletes' health from the COVID-19 pandemic, state media outlets informed on Tuesday.
According to North Korea's Sports Ministry website, the country's Olympic Committee's general assembly was decided during a meeting held on March 25 in Pyongyang.
The members of that organization brought the proposal to the meeting, concerned about the global health crisis.
The DPRK is one of the few countries on the planet that managed to stay free of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and its consequent disease, COVID-19, as it adopted strict epidemiological measures and border controls as soon as the first cases were reported in China.
North Korea pulled out of the Tokyo Olympics this summer, citing risk of COVID-19.
It claims to have had 0 cases after closing its borders in January 2020. Foreign diplomats report dire shortages of medicine and basic goods, and experts warn of food shortages. pic.twitter.com/zs5xFrp0hp
Japan is immersed in the process of unprecedented adjustments for the summer games in Tokyo, precisely because of the uncertainties derived from the pandemic.
Since late March, the Olympic torch relay has passed through its territory amid a strict epidemiological mechanism to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and authorities require spectators to wear facemasks and not contact the torchbearers.