World

North Korea claims no case of coronavirus so far; leaves health officials skeptical

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on April 02, 2020 Published on April 02, 2020

File Photo of a North Korean flag   -  Reuters

North Korea claimed that the country does not have a single person infected with the novel coronavirus, the disease that has spread across the world, as per media reports.

As global organizations stressed over self-distancing and lockdowns to curb the virus, the already distanced North Korea quickly shut down its borders in January after the virus was first spotted in its neighboring China.

Pak Myong Su, director of the anti-epidemic department of the North's Central Emergency Anti-epidemic Headquarters, maintained that the efforts had been completely successful.

"Not one single person has been infected with the novel coronavirus in our country so far," Pak told Agence France-Presse.

"We have carried out pre-emptive and scientific measures such as inspections and quarantine for all personnel entering our country and thoroughly disinfecting all goods, as well as closing borders and blocking sea and air lanes."

Meanwhile, nearly all countries, including the indigenous tribes in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, have reported coronavirus cases. The World Health Organization also noted on Wednesday that there were nearly one million confirmed infections globally.

Apart from China, South Korea endured one of the worst early outbreaks of the virus, which had claimed more than 45,000 lives around the world.

According to health experts, North Korea is more susceptible to the spread of the virus, given its poor healthcare system. However, their leader Kim Jong Un is trying to cover it up.

The top US military commander in South Korea, General Robert Abrams, mentioned last month he was "fairly certain" the North had confirmed cases of the virus, AFP reported.

US President Donald Trump also said North Korea "is going through something" and offered "cooperation in the anti-epidemic work", in a personal letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Russia’s foreign ministry told media that Pyongyang had sought virus-related aid from it in February, including 1500 test kits, but mentioned that it was taking just to alleviate the risk of coronavirus in North Korea.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation has planned to spend US$900,000 (S$1.28 million) to support Pyongyang's coronavirus response activities, according to data posted on the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs website.

Published on April 02, 2020

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