North Korea has quarantined 10,000 people over coronavirus as Kim Jong-un’s regime still denies there is any outbreak.
Kim’s state media reported the people had been rounded up for isolation as the regime attempts to fight coronavirus.
Staggeringly, North Korea claimed that not a single one has confirmed to have the infection which has swept the world.
And at least 4,000 of them have been released as they showed no symptoms.
North Korea shares a large land border with China, its closest ally and trading partner, but has not confirmed a single case of coronavirus.
Meanwhile, across the border its much more developed neighbour South Korea has the second highest number of cases in the world.
It comes amid reports almost 200 soldiers have died in North Korea of the virus as fears grow of Kim covering up the outbreak.
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Pyongyang has put 2,420 people under quarantine in South Pyongan Province, 3,000 in North Pyongan Province, 1,500 in Kangwon Province and 2,630 in Jagang Province, reports state media.
And around 380 foreigners have also been placed in quarantine in the capital.
The Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the Kim’s regime, said quarantine is now slowly being lifted for people who met potential carriers from other countries.
North Korea is feared to be concealing the extent of its outbreak as it continues to claim there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in its borders.
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“To block the flow and spread of the infectious disease, it is important to ensure a complete preventive sealing-off of all quarantine facilities … (as well as to) well establish treatment measures and lift quarantine strictly in accordance with what is stipulated in the guidelines,” the newspaper said.
North Korea has taken measures to fight back against coronavirus, acting quickly when the first reports emerged of the new virus sweeping China.
Kim also doubled the quarantine period for at risk people to a month as they take no chances.
Commentators have warned however North Korea’s lack of medical supplies and poor infrastructure are insufficient to manage an epidemic.
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North Korea’s military leadership are reportedly in a panic as coronavirus infections take hold within the army.
Sources today claimed they do not even have enough crematoriums to deal with the deaths.
The regime has reportedly ordered military hospitals to be disinfected on a daily basis.
And rations have been upped for soldiers amid fears malnutrition could fuel the spread of coronavirus.
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North Korea have also reportedly been disposing of bodies quietly to avoid panic amid the potential epidemic.
Pyongyang reacted early during the outbreak – shutting down its borders to tourists from China as early reports emerged from Wuhan.
The regime reportedly shot dead a public official who visited a public baths while being suspected of having coronavirus.
Extreme quarantine is reportedly being rolled out in Pyongyang as its seen as the regime's top priority with its population of three million.
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State-media articles within North Korea have also said the virus is a “fight” and is a matter for “survival” of the state.
North Korea scholar Professor Robert E. Kelly said an epidemic in North Korea would be a “matter of national survival”.
He compared it to the famine which ravaged the hermit kingdom in the nineties – which ended up killing up to 3.5 million people.
Choi Jung-hun, a former doctor in North Korea who escaped the regime in 2011, also said Pyongyang does not have the resources to operate full-scale quarantine.
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He worked on a measles outbreak within the country in 2006 to 2007 and said medics were ill-equipped to fight back.
“The problem in North Korea is that manuals are not followed,” the physician explained.
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“When there wasn't enough food provided for the people at hospitals and quarantine facilities, people escaped to look for food.”
And with North Korea facing the threat of the epidemic, the country could also see its already crippling economic problems worsen.
- North Korea Dprk
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