With COVID-19 sweeping across the globe, North Korea continues to claim that the country has zero cases of the coronavirus. According to the South China Morning Post, North Korea took quick actions to shut down its borders after the virus was first detected in China as well as imposing strict measures of containment.
Apparently, the director of the anti-epidemic department of the North’s Central Emergency Anti-epidemic Headquarters, Pak Myong Su, insisted the implemented measures were successful. Not only that he claimed that no one in North Korea had been infected with COVID-19, but also how the authorities had carried out “pre-emptive and scientific” measures to handle this issue.
“Not one single person has been infected with the novel coronavirus in our country so far. 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,” Mr Pak stated.
Only about 500 people remain under the COVID-19 quarantine in North Korea and the country will continue its anti-virus campaign, as reported by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). Initially, 380 foreigners in the country were reported to be placed under medical isolation, however, KCNA revealed last week that only two foreigners remained quarantined. Last month in March, the country arranged a special government flight to transport dozens of diplomats to Vladivostok, Russia.
Accusations towards Pyongyang for covering up the outbreak in the country had also been reported. Experts have mentioned that North Korea is particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus because of its weak health care system. Other than that, the defectors from the country had accused the country for covering up the situation of the outbreak.
General Robert Abrams, the top US military commander in South Korea, mentioned on Thursday that Pyongyang’s claim of having zero cases was “untrue” and “impossible”.
“I can tell you that is an impossible claim based on all of the intel that we have seen,” said General Abrams.
Choi Jung-hun, a former North Korean doctor who fled to South Korea in 2012 told the press that he heard that there are many deaths in the North, however, the country did not acknowledge that the death cases were related to COVID-19.
“I heard there are many deaths in North Korea but the authorities are not saying that it’s caused by the coronavirus,” Mr Choi said.
Since North Korea is lacking medical supplies and the latest diagnostic equipment, the country’s authorities had requested Medecins Sans Frontieres and Unicef to ship medical supplies. These supplies include masks, gloves, goggles, gowns and hand hygiene products, according to NK News.