North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has taken top ruling party officials to task over failures in anti-epidemic work that led to an unspecified “grave incident” and put the safety of the country and people at risk, state media reports.
The report by state news agency KCNA on Wednesday did not elaborate on what happened, or how it put people at risk.
North Korea has not officially confirmed any COVID-19 cases, a claim questioned by South Korean and US officials.
But the reclusive country has imposed strict anti-virus measures, including border closures and domestic travel curbs.
North Korea’s sports ministry announced in April the country will not participate in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics to protect its athletes amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Kim called a meeting of the Workers Party of Korea politburo to address some party executives’ neglect of duty, including failing to implement important long-term measures to fight the pandemic, KCNA said.
“The general secretary pointed out … a grave incident that created a major crisis for the safety of the country and people and the serious consequences that resulted from it,” KCNA said.
Several politburo members, secretaries of the central committee, and officials of several state agencies were replaced at the meeting, though KCNA did not specify if the shake-ups were related to the neglect of pandemic-related duty.