The North Korean city, which was put in an “ultra-emergency” after a suspected coronavirus case that occurred there in late July, has sent more than 550,000 items to help, the country’s state media reported on Thursday.
This, despite the continued insistence of the Hermit Kingdom, that the disease should not exist within its borders.
The development comes as a man in Kaesong, whom North Koreans believe the virus can be tested and whose results have returned unconvincing, according to Dr. Edwin Salvador, a spokesman for the World Health Organization.
“Since the declaration of the ultra-emergency, more than 550,000 different materials of more than 30 types have been urgently transported to the city of Kaesong so far,”
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The trial began in late July, when North Korea said it had imposed its “maximum emergency system” to prevent the virus from spreading after finding a person with COVID-19 symptoms in Kaesong, near the border with South Korea. Korea.
This man – a North Korean who fled to the South Year and recently decided to return home – was identified in South Korea as a 24-year-old man named Kim who had not tested positive and had never had contact with any patients. said South Korean health official Yoon Taeho.
South Korean police said the man was questioned in June on charges of sexually assaulting a North Korean refugee woman. The man denied the charge. But last month, the National Forensics Service told police it had found DNA evidence of the attack and police were continuing to investigate, according to provincial police agency Gyeonggi Nambu.
In a report to the World Health Organization, North Korea said it had quarantined 64 first contacts in the suspected Kaesong case and 3,571 secondary contacts in government facilities over a 40-day period, El Salvador said.
But now the WHO wants more information on the alleged case, he added.
THE NORTH KOREA THAT CAUSED THE CORONAVIRUS GRID WAS SEXUALLY THE LAST INVESTIGATION
As all this unfolds, North Korea’s borders remain closed, group gatherings are banned, masks are required in public and all educational institutions – including preschools – are on long summer vacations, El Salvador told the Associated Press.
And since late December, North Korea has quarantined and released 25,905 people, 382 of them foreigners, El Salvador said.
Many outside observers believe the coronavirus has already entered North Korea as it closed its border with China, its largest trading partner, weeks after the world’s first cases of the virus were reported in China in December. Monitoring groups in Seoul have also consistently reported cases and deaths of North Korean viruses, the Associated Press reported.
A major outbreak of coronavirus could lead to a humanitarian catastrophe due to the disrupted public health system in North Korea and the lack of medical supplies.
KIM JONG UN SAYS “VICIOUS VIRUS” MAY BE IN COUNTRY
But it is not clear how serious North Korea’s current situation is.
“Although a truly large-scale outbreak may not yet have occurred, a significant number of people are likely to be infected,” said analyst Hong Min of the Korean Institute for National Reunification in Seoul. “Although North Korea is being blocked, there must be suspicions of cases and the authorities must aggressively diagnose them. But North Korea has never been transparent about whether it has the capacity and the will to do so. “
North Korean state media also say the country has deployed more health workers, rehabilitated staff and goods, and used loudspeakers to raise public awareness of the virus.
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The announced emergency steps suggest that the epidemic there may have worsened, said Kim Sing-gon, a professor at the College of Medicine in Korea in Seoul.
North Korea may also seek help from South Korea or others, but wants to save the person by saying the Kaesong case is someone who has been to South Korea, he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.