North Korea declares emergency over suspected virus case

Nation/World

In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during an enlarged meeting of the Central Military Commission of the Workers’ Party of Korea in Pyongyang, North Korea Saturday, July 18, 2020. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: “KCNA” which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

PYONGYANG (WLNS) – North Korean authorities imposed a lockdown on the border city of Kaesong after discovering what they say is the country’s first suspected coronavirus case, according to reports from Al Jazeera.

If confirmed, it would be the first officially recognized case of COVID-19 in North Korea.

Leader Kim Jong Un convened an emergency politburo meeting to implement a “maximum emergency system and issue a top-class alert” to contain the virus, the official Korean Central News Agency reported on Sunday.

Kim was quoted as saying “the vicious virus could be said to have entered the country”, and officials took the “pre-emptive measure of totally blocking Kaesong city”.

Kaesong, a city with an estimated population of 200,000, is located just north of the heavily fortified land border with South Korea.

Pyongyang previously insisted that not a single case of the coronavirus had been seen in the North despite the pandemic sweeping the globe, and the country’s borders remain closed.

North Korea closed its borders in late January as the virus spread in neighboring China.

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