North Korea sees 'first suspected COVID-19 case'

Updated: 27 July, 2020 09:00 IST | Agencies | Seoul

Kim Jong-un says 'the vicious virus' may have entered the country, places the city of Kaesong near the border with South Korea under total lockdown

Kim Jong-un. Pic/AFP
Kim Jong-un. Pic/AFP

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un placed Kaesong city near the border with South Korea under total lockdown after a person was found with suspected COVID-19 symptoms, saying “the vicious virus” may have entered the country, state media reported Sunday.

If the person is officially declared a coronavirus patient, he or she would be North Korea's first confirmed case. The North has steadfastly said it has had no cases of the virus, a claim questioned by outside experts. Kim had even hailed the country's 'shining success in handling COVID-19, by keeping it at bay, on July 3.

“We have thoroughly prevented the inroad of the malignant virus and maintained a stable anti-epidemic situation despite the worldwide health crisis, which is a shining success achieved,” Kim had said in a statement carried by Korean Central News Agency said.

The lockdown was declared on Friday afternoon. The KCNA said the suspected virus patient is a runaway who fled to South Korea three years ago before illegally crossing the border into the North early last week.

KCNA said respiratory secretion and blood tests showed the person “is suspected to have been infected” with the coronavirus. It said the person was placed under quarantine. People who had been in contact with the suspected patient and those who had been to Kaesong in the past five days were also quarantined.

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First Published: 27 July, 2020 08:14 IST

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