North Korea, ruled by Kim Jong Un continues to reiterate that the country is completely free of coronavirus. 709 patients have been tested but there no positive cases reported, a World Health Organisation reporter said. However the authorities are dubious about the issue as the country’s neighbor, South Korea have seen more than 10000 cases with a death toll of about 200
The country has taken some of the most draconian measures after the virus was reported in early January. North Korea was one of the first country to seal the international borders in February. Also, all the foreign diplomats were in quarentine for one month in Pyongyang and the country controlled the movement of public.
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea(DPRK) is much more emphatic compared to the country’s response of SARS and Ebola, in 2003 and 2014 respectively and this may have helped.
The officials in NK are now asking for Humanitarian assistance. Aid organisations, to allow specific shipments had to secure emergency excemptions from the UN. Due to the strict border controls it is difficult to get the shipments.
There’s no news about the state sanctioned smuggling across the country’s border with China, whether its still continuing or not due to the closure of the country’s borders. If the smuggling is still continuing, then there’s a high chance of the COVID-19 spreading into the country.
In Early March, South Korea’s daily reported that around 200 North Korean soldiers have died and 4000 are in quarentine due to the virus outbreak. Public discussions are not happening regarding the virus, and the dailys of the country is focussing more on Missile testing and the construction of Pyongyang General Hospital was the only discussion happened o health issues.
The country’s secretive response is not something new, given its long history of Isolationism. Reports have also said that the new round of missile testing in the country could be seen as a strategic diversion technique, controlling information-spread and evading panic is a central part of Kim Jong un’s leadership.