Has North Korea escaped coronavirus?

Kim Jong Un As coronavirus spreads around the world, North Korea does not report a single case. As evidence, Kim Jong Un’s regime is provoking new missile tests. But what can Chemistry do against COVID-19? As is often the case in North Korea, this also applies to the coronavirus crisis: credible facts are scarce, instead propaganda, speculation, and gossip circulate.

Only one thing is certain: the regime began to react to the invisible threat in late January, long before Europe. The state-run Rodong Sinmum described the fight against the virus as a matter of “national survival.” However, on March 13, the North Korean government told the World Health Organization (WHO) that there was no single case of COVID-19 lung disease in the country.

At the same time, neighboring China reported over 80,000 infected people, and in South Korea, in the other half of the divided Korean peninsula there were less than 8,000 people. Neither training nor flights In North Korea today there is a ban on entry and exit, air and rail traffic have been suspended, schools and universities have been closed.

All foreigners in the country were placed under a 30-day quarantine, and even diplomats were not expelled from it – and are only allowed to move to a very limited extent. Germany fired its embassy staff in late February. Even the all-encompassing army of self-proclaimed nuclear power is not excluded from the masses. For example, General Robert Abrams, the commander of the US military in South Korea, reported on March 13 that North Korea’s armed forces had been “closed for about 30 days” and “only recently had routine exercises begun.” As an example, the US general cites the North Korean Air Force: “They have not flown any aircraft for 24 days.” The U.S. military is “quite confident,” Abrams said, adding that there were COVID-19 cases in North Korea. Trump writes to Kim Jong Un The dictatorship is focused on full internal control.

North Korea sends a clear signal to the outside world that it does not want anyone to dictate anything to it: for example, in March, as more and more countries reported rising levels of infection, the country tested four ballistic missiles demonstratively.

A day after the third test of North Korea’s missiles, on March 22 a news item from the North Korean state news agency KCNA: KCNA reported on a personal letter from US President Donald Trump addressed to incumbent Kim Jong Un. According to the news, Trump has not only insisted on paper for the improvement of bilateral relations, but has also proposed cooperation in the fight against the epidemic.

The White House confirmed the letter without going into details. Truth or lies about coronavirus Worldwide (April 7, 2020, 9:30 a.m.), more than 1.3 million people have been infected, and nearly 75,000 patients have died from coronavirus infection. But the official statement of the Pyongyang regime has not changed to date: zero COVID-19 cases in North Korea. Many people have doubts about this. Among them is American journalist Jean H. Lee.

She has been a regular in North Korea between 2008 and 2017. From 2011 to 2013, she spent a lot of time in Pyongyang as a foreign correspondent for the Associated Press news agency. Today she is leading the program for Korea at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington. “Unfortunately, there are currently very few foreigners in the country who can give a better picture of what is happening,” Lee reports. “It’s almost impossible for foreigners to get close to a hospital to see what’s going on there.” Lee is convinced that there are cases with coronavirus. She does not trust the government’s denial. “Facing the long border with China, it’s hard for me to believe.” This border lies at a distance of 1400 kilometers.

According to the prestigious North Korean portal 38North, North Korea closed its border crossings with China in late January for passengers and freight traffic. Only one crossing point is open for the import of goods, under strict quarantine rules. However, the virus had spread to China two months before the border was closed – and it appears unlikely that it stopped at the North Korean border, a neighbor in urgent need of exchanges with China. Outside help North Korea has about 25 million inhabitants.

If the suspicions of a coronavirus outbreak were confirmed, the health system would face a task that cannot be accomplished without outside help. “The population is very susceptible to infectious diseases due to chronic malnutrition,” said the former correspondent.North Korea, Jean H. Lee. On February 26, the Russian Foreign Ministry said it had sent 1,500 test boxes to North Korea.

Aid organizations such as Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (SNRF) have also started sending aid. Medical goods such as protective gloves, face masks, test equipment and antibiotics have been clearly excluded from UN sanctions. However, any assistance must be approved by the relevant UN Sanctions Committee.

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