200 soldiers died of coronavirus in North Korea: reports

The official narrative is that 10,000 people have been quarantined already and 4,000 have been released

Amid reports of diplomats confined for over a month in North Korea returning, the latest reports have put the death toll of coronavirus in the walled country at 200 soldiers, while thousands are being quarantined. However, North Korean government has denied any cases of coronavirus deaths so far.

The official narrative in the most secretive nation is that 10,000 people have been quarantined already and 4,000 have been released. "The infectious disease did not flow into our country yet," said North Korea's government-controlled Rodong Sinmun on Monday. However, state-run Daily NK said 200 soldiers have died so far, quoting army sources.

However, the Daily NK said that its sources in a medical corp within the North Korean military informed alarm as military hospitals were asked to provide data about the number of soldiers in their care that had died of high fevers due to pneumonia and those in quarantine. Military unit officers are to be punished if proper protocol to control coronavirus was not followed, reported the Daily NK.

Coronavirus status as of 9 March, 2020
Coronavirus status as of 9 March, 2020 GISAID

To strengthen the immune system of the soldiers, their ration has been tripled with at least 800 grams worth of food daily and they are being provided three meals of puréed soybean soup per day, instead of the usual one per day, said the report.

North Korea, which shares a porous border with China, has refuted reports that there are any coronavirus cases in the country while its both neighbours -- China and South Korea -- have recorded maximum deaths in the last two months. South Korea on Monday reported an additional 69 cases, raising the country's total to 7,382, the second-highest behind China.

State media Rodong Sinmun said those not wearing masks or not cooperating efforts to stop cornavirus poses "unpredictable" danger so the country and is "unacceptable." The quarantine period has been extended to a month and those who may have come into contact with foreigners have been isolated for more than 40 days.