So far, there have been no official coronavirus cases in North Korea. But now the first suspected case has occurred: A defector may be infected, it said. The border town of Kaesong was cordoned off.
More than half a year after the start of the corona pandemic, North Korea first reported a suspected corona case. At a crisis meeting of the Politburo, head of state Kim Jong Un declared the “maximum alarm”, according to the state news agency KCNA. A curfew was imposed on the 200,000-inhabitant city of Kaesong on the border with South Korea.
According to KCNA, the allegedly infected person is said to be a defector who went to South Korea three years ago. A week ago, he “illegally crossed” the heavily guarded border and returned to North Korea. On the South Korean side, however, no crossing of the border littered with mine fields was reported.
Officially not a single case so far
According to KCNA, the patient is in “strict quarantine” in Kaesong. A smear and a blood test would have revealed a “possible infection,” it said. It was a “dangerous situation” that could “lead to a fatal and destructive catastrophe”. KCNA quoted President Kim as saying “the malicious virus may have entered the country.”
So far, the extremely isolated and authoritarian North Korea had not registered a single case of the new type of corona virus, according to official information. The country closed its borders because of the virus in late January. However, the 1,400-kilometer-long border with China is considered permeable – especially in winter, when frozen rivers make it possible to cross and the black market along the border is flourishing.
Virus is said to have entered the country earlier
Experts suspect that the virus entered the country before the border was closed. There is no doubt that the coronavirus entered China from China, said Go Myon Hyun from the Asan Institute for Political Science. Pyongyang is hanging the allegedly imported case from South Korea on the big bell to brand defectors as “dangerous beings”.
North Korea has already received corona virus test sets from Russia and other countries. Thousands of people have been quarantined, but restrictions have recently been relaxed.