North Korea Claims It Has No Confirmed Cases Of Coronavirus
North Korea claims it has had no confirmed cases of COVID-19.
According to The Diplomat, it said: "Officials of the Party and power organs and working people's organisations and those in the fields of public health and anti-epidemic control across the country have boosted the hygienic information service about the worldwide spread of COVID-19 and preventive and treatment measures among the people, so that they should never feel relieved for having no COVID-19 case in the DPRK."
But this claim has been widely disputed by global experts. Jung H. Pak, a former CIA analyst on North Korea, said he believed the country's leader Kim Jong Un was lying about the true state of affairs in order to make the nation's isolation from the rest of the world appear as though it is a strength.
Speaking to Fox News, he said: "It's impossible for North Korea not to have a single case of coronavirus."
General Robert Abrams, commander of U.S. Forces Korea, also cast doubt over the country's claims, pointing to their lack of military activity as an indication that coronavirus had spread to the country.
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In a press conference, he said: "It is a closed-off nation, so we can't say emphatically that they have cases, but we're fairly certain they do.
"What I do know is that their armed forces had been fundamentally in a lockdown for about 30 days and only recently have they started routine training again. As one example, they didn't fly an airplane for 24 days."
There are fears that if the disease does take a hold in the isolated nation, it could be a humanitarian disaster, due to the widespread hunger and insufficient medical infrastructure in the country.
Thomas Byrne, president of the Korea Society, told Bloomberg: "There's no human rights or social freedom concerns, there's probably no concern for people starving to death. They can really enforce social distancing."
Meanwhile across the border, South Korea appears to be leading the way with its approach to the pandemic. More than 270,000 have been tested at a rate of almost 20,000 tests per day, while the fatality rate stands at only 0.6 percent.
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