North Korea’s escalating virus response raises fear of outbreak

North Korea has begun taking steps in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, leading outside observers to fear the country has become inundated with ailing sufferers. With information already hard to come by, gauging the coronavirus spread is virtually impossible.


World News

August 6, 2020 - 9:55 AM

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea is quarantining thousands of people and shipping food and other aid to a southern city locked down over coronavirus worries, officials said, as the country’s response to a suspected case reinforces doubt about its longstanding claim to be virus-free. 

But amid the outside skepticism and a stream of North Korean propaganda glorifying its virus efforts, an exchange between the country and the United Nations is providing new clarity — and actual numbers — about what might be happening in North Korea, which has closed its borders and cut travel — never a free-flowing stream — by outsider monitors and journalists.

In late July, North Korea said it had imposed its “maximum emergency system” to guard against the virus spreading after finding a person with COVID-19 symptoms in Kaesong city, near the border with rival South Korea.

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