North Korea sets up coronavirus quarantine facility in northern province | World | News

The facility has reportedly been set up in Kilju County in North Korea’s Hamgyong Province – the northernmost province in the country. The news provides a little more insight into how the secretive nation is dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

North Korea has – and reportedly continues – to claim that it does not have any Covid-19 infections.

It was the first country to suspend tourism and shut its borders in response to the pandemic, the BBC reports, doing so in the third week of January.

A source based in the province told Daily NK on May 12 that in Kilju county, along with Kilju village and a coal mining village, there had been over 40 people who were suspected of having caught Covid-19.

The source said: “The county has set aside a building to be used as a quarantine facility for the sick people.”

The decision to set up a facility in the province itself marks a change – before now, people were allegedly being transported to Chongjin, the province’s capital, for treatment, Daily NK adds.

One reason behind the decision to treat cases closer to home is that Chongjin is reportedly now unavailable – though the reasons why are not clear.

The same source told Daily NK that authorities have forbidden local residents from talking about the potential outbreak, which has been described as an “unknown disease”.

Very little information has been released from North Korea since the outbreak began, though the country has previously claimed to have had zero infections, according to reports.

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He added that: “It cannot be ruled out that there is an outbreak in North Korea.”

Meanwhile, China, often seen as North Korea’s ally, has expressed concern about the threat posed by the pandemic to the country.

Xi Jinping, China’s leader, offered help after receiving a letter from Kim Jong-Un, the BBC reports.

Chinese state media said that in the letter, Kim Jong-Un congratulated Xi on China’s efforts against the virus.

Xi said in response that he appreciated Kim’s support and that he was paying attention to people’s health in North Korea, state media said.

Xi added that China was “willing to continue to provide assistance within its own capacity for [North Korea] in the fight against Covid-19,” the BBC reports.

In other news, the Russian embassy to North Korea said last Thursday that Russia has sent 25,000 tonnes of wheat to North Korea in humanitarian aid following a drought last year which hit wheat production, Reuters reports.

The agency added that a Russian vessel, Polina, delivered the wheat to a North Korea port from Novorossiisk – a port in the Black Sea.

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