North Korea Declares Emergency After First Possible COVID-19 Case; City of Kaesong In Full Lockdown
North Korea has declared state of emergency, after its first ever suspicion of COVID-19, in the city of Kaesong, near the border with South Korea.
A defector, who is now in quarantine, is being suspected to have the infection, as the test result of the case is “uncertain.”
Immediately the North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un, has enacted the country’s maximum emergency system, along with the full lockdown in the city of Kaesong, warning officials to “face up to the reality.”
As per the reports from the North Korea’s state media KCNA, the individual suspected to have been infected with COVID-19 was a runaway, who has gone to South Korea nearly three years ago, and has crossed back to North Korea, illegally on July 19.
It’s not clear if the individual has had the official coronavirus test, as the reports only state that several medical checkups show respiratory symptoms similar to COVID-19 cases.
KCNA reports “uncertain result was made from several medical checkups of the secretion of that person’s upper respiratory organ and blood.” The officials have also started the investigation of close contacts of the individual.
Kim Jong-un is said to have noted the situation to be a very critical and dangerous situation which might lead to the deadly and destructive disaster.
If confirmed, this marks the first time, the supreme leader has officially acknowledged Coronavirus infection in North Korea. Before this, North Korea has constantly claimed to have no COVID-19 cases in the territory, which was severely questioned by medical experts.
The country has already received thousands of coronavirus testing kits from Russia and other countries, and was under strict border closures in the past few months. People were also under quarantine restrictions, as a precautionary measure, which was recently eased.
However, The South Korea’s health authorities have made it clear that there was no evidence of the defector, referred to only as “Kim,” having contracted the illness.
“The person is neither registered as a Covid-19 patient nor classified as a person who came in contact with virus patients,” said Yoon Tae-ho, a senior health official, according to Yonhap news agency, as reported by The Guardian.
The KCDC – Korean Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that two people who was in close contact with the defector have been tested negative.