Around 2,280 North Koreans and two foreigners have been quarantined in Pyongyang for fear they may have coronavirus, State media reported. This is the first time North Korea released data about the pandemic.
“One additional foreigner was released from quarantine, leaving two foreigners quarantined as of now,” the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the country’s official news agency, announced.
KCNA had previously reported figures only by region, but did not mention the total number of people quarantined or released.
According to the agency, the measures taken by the government to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the country will continue for the “long term”. For this reason, state or regional epidemic prevention facilities must remain alert.
“The national anti-virus emergency system in our country is being strengthened even further as the COVID-19 virus is spreading rapidly to nearly all countries and regions in the world,” the KCNA noted.
North Korea has not yet reported any case of COVID-19 virus infection, but has called for nationwide efforts to prevent the virus from breaking out on its territory. To this end, the authorities have intensified border controls and tightened the quarantine process.
There are growing concerns that North Korea could be vulnerable as it shares a long and porous border with China, and lacks key medical supplies and the infrastructure to test and treat infected patients.
Recently, South Korean media reported that the virus has already killed nearly 200 soldiers in the North.