North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un, has asked his people and officials to prepare for the dangers posed by coronavirus and a looming typhoon.
Kim Jong-un appearance at a party meeting comes after widespread speculation over his health.
The nation has not confirmed any Covid-19 cases so far 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.
In a meeting on Tuesday, Kim, who was smoking a cigarette, said there were “some shortcomings” in the state’s efforts to keep out the “malignant virus”, state media reported, without giving details.
Pyongyang for a long time insisted there were no infections in the country, though this was doubted by observers. No cases have been declared, but its media have not repeated the claim for several weeks now.
After a suspected case, there had been a lockdown in one border city near South Korea 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 the health of the North Korean leader is not unusual but has so far always turned out to be false.