Coronavirus : in North Korea, a prime case of suspected - The Point

It could be the first case of coronavirus in North Korea, if it is confirmed. Sunday 26 July, the country reported a case "suspected" of Covid-19. According t

Coronavirus : in North Korea, a prime case of suspected - The Point

It could be the first case of coronavirus in North Korea, if it is confirmed. Sunday 26 July, the country reported a case "suspected" of Covid-19. According to the official news agency, KCNA, this case concerns a person who " is back on the 19th of July after illegally crossing the demarcation line ", which acts as the border with South Korea. North Korea has also announced to be placed in a state of emergency "maximum" to attempt to stop the virus.

The person suspected of carrying the virus is presented as "a fugitive who visited the South three years ago" and was found in the city of Kaesong, on the border with South Korea. This person would have managed to cross the border heavily fortified that separates the two countries. However, since South Korea, there has been no information about any attempt of illegal crossing of the border, marked by, among others, mined areas, one borders the most monitored militarily in the world.

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Quarantine

According to the agency, KCNA, the person in question " has been at first put under strict quarantine, and all persons (...) that have come in contact with this person and those who went in this city these last five days are subject to a thorough investigation ". Pyongyang had previously assured that there was no case of coronavirus and that the country's borders remain closed.

China and North Korea share a 1 400-kilometre border is particularly porous during the winter, when the frozen rivers to facilitate the smuggling. Dozens of nationals of North Korea are crossing daily the border to smuggle contraband and analysts argue that they have probably carried the virus in the isolated country, even before the border closure.

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City of confined spaces

"Without a doubt, the coronavirus has it been imported into the North from China," said Go Myong-hyun, an analyst of the Institute Asan for policy studies, highlighting the border traffic between the two countries and the significant number of cases reported by Beijing. To cope with the " dangerous situation (...) that could lead to a catastrophe deadly and destructive ", the north Korean leader Kim Jong-un has convened on Saturday for an urgent meeting of the political bureau to adopt a "system emergency maximum and emit a warning of" high-level " to contain the epidemic, said the official agency.

Despite the quarantine measures strictly, "it seems that the vicious virus got into the country," said Kim Jong-un, according to KCNA. The north Korean leader said that the government had taken " precautionary measure to confine completely the city of Kaesong on 24 July, has added the same source. For its part, South Korea, reported Saturday an outbreak of a case, saving its balance sheet, the highest in almost four months, with 113 new cases, of which 86 concern of the people who arrived from abroad. The pandemic of Covid-19 declared the end of 2019 China was about 640 000 deaths in the world and continues to grow. More than 280,000 new infections have been recorded for the single day of Friday.

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Updated Date: 26 July 2020, 02:33

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