North Korean media said that Kim informed a meeting of senior politicians that they had stopped the new coronavirus from entering the largely closed country.
“We have completely prevented the spread of the malignant virus and have maintained a stable anti-epidemic situation despite the global health crisis, which is a resounding success,” the Kenyan Central News Agency said on Friday.
However, Kim criticized officials for complaining that the global health crisis had not yet subsided.
“The rapid easing of anti-epidemic measures will lead to an unimaginable and irreversible crisis,” said Kim, according to the report.
The pictures released by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) of the meeting showed that Kim heads dozens of officials who do not seem to be practicing the social dimension. None of them wore masks.
But Pyongyang-based diplomatic sources said on the streets that everyone wore masks and practiced a form of social exclusion. They said that life has mostly returned to normal in the North Korean capital, and construction sites, shops and hotels are all now open. A source said the schools were reopened in June.
The sources said that the North Korean officials appeared to be confident that the virus was under control, at least in Pyongyang, although one source said he had not heard anyone being tested.
The meeting was Kim’s first public appearance in weeks. The young North Korean leader in past years has maintained a very busy schedule full of public events, but in the past three months he has maintained an surprisingly weak impression.
More than 10.8 million people worldwide have been infected with the new Corona virus, and more than half a million have died as a result of this virus. Every East Asian country has reported at least one Covid-19 case – except for North Korea.
A WHO representative in North Korea, Dr. Edwin Salvador, said in an email to CNN that 922 people in the country had been tested to ensure they were not infected with the virus. North Korea’s population is likely to reach around 25 million, although the exact number is unclear because Pyongyang does not make demographic information publicly available.
Salvador said that since the epidemic began, 25,551 people had been quarantined and subsequently released. He said that up to 255 people – all of them North Koreans – are still quarantined. Salvador said schools across the country have been reopened, and students are required to wear masks
Independent public health experts said it was unlikely that the virus had somehow reached the country. The virus may have entered over the northern border with China, where smuggling is spreading. Coronavirus groups were identified in northeastern China, including one in Jilin Province in May.
Salvador said that although the border is closed, the goods sent to North Korea are cleared and then isolated for 10 days.
Experts believe North Korea will be particularly vulnerable to an outbreak of Covid-19 due to its poor healthcare infrastructure, and questions have previously been raised about Pyongyang’s ability to test. Salvador said North Korea has 235 rapid response teams across the country ready to handle cases and 15 laboratories that have been dedicated to the Covid-19 test. North Korean authorities have begun to use infrared thermometers to conduct temperature checks in public places, where masks are mandatory. Public gatherings are banned.
“The Ministry’s national protocol relies on WHO guidelines to respond to any suspected cases of COVID-19. All suspected cases (mild, moderate or severe) are quarantined in district or county hospitals designated for administration and there is no quarantine for the suspect Light cases, “he said in his statement.
While many are concerned that North Korea’s health-care system will spread due to a potential pandemic, the country is in a fairly good position to prevent the virus from penetrating its borders. North Korea stopped allowing people to enter when the epidemic first appeared in months, and people within the country do not have the freedom to move as they wish. The defectors say that the average North Koreans are not allowed to travel far from their homes without government approval.