translated from Spanish: North Korea declares Covid-19 quarantine in Kaesong

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declared the town of Kaesong near the border with South Korea under total quarantine after a person was found there apparently with symptoms of Covid-19. The «perverse virus» could have entered the country, the state press reported on Sunday. If the person is officially declared to be sick with coronavirus, it would be the first confirmed case in the country. The North has said it has no cases, a statement that outside experts have questioned. Quarantine was declared on Friday afternoon. Official news agency KCNA said the alleged sick person is someone who fled to South Korea three years ago and returned illegally early last week. KCNA said that «it is suspected that (the person) was infected by the coronavirus». People who were in contact with him or her and those who were in Kaesong in the last five days were quarantined. Foreign experts say an outbreak of coronavirus in North Korea would have dire consequences due to the fragility of public health infrastructure and chronic shortage of medical equipment. The country has a long, porous border with China, its main trading partner, where the world’s first known cases were reported in December. Kaesong, with about 200,000 inhabitants, is located north of the heavily armed land border with South Korea.During an emergency meeting of the Political Bureau on Saturday, Kim declared a state of emergency in the Kaesong area and «clarified the Decision of the Party’s Central Committee to move from the state anti-fire emergency system to the maximum emergency system and issue a high alert» KCNA reported. According to the agency, Kim said there was «a critical situation in which the perverse virus could be said to have entered the country.»

Original source in Spanish

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