The ruling party of North Korea has delivered the special aid packages of food and also medical equipment to the people of Kaesong, near the border with South Korea after imposing lockdown there because of coronavirus or COVID-19 concerns, the state media mentioned on Sunday.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declared an emergency and imposed a lockdown on the small border town last month after a person, who defected to South Korea in 2017, returned to Kaesong across the highly fortified border showing coronavirus symptoms.

Pyongyang has not confirmed any coronavirus infections but has been taking strict quarantine measures and screening the town, while providing food, test kits and other medical equipment, according to state media. State television on Sunday showed a train arriving at the Kaesong station and trucks delivering supplies to residents.

COVID-19 in North Korea

Picture for representation
The North Korea flag flutters next to concertina wire at the North Korean embassy. Reuters

Separately, hundreds of people wearing masks and sitting apart from one another gathered at a party auditorium to thank authorities for the aid, with some breaking down in tears, footage showed. The official KCNA news agency said the shipments arrived on Friday to help the residents cope with the lockdown, which "may lead to a deadly and destructive disaster."

North Korea has not formally confirmed that the man in question tested positive for the virus. Seoul officials have said the 24-year-old returned to the North after facing a sexual assault investigation in the South.

South Korean health officials said there was no sign he was infected before he crossed the border, and at least two people who were in close contact with him have tested negative. South Korea has confirmed 14,598 coronavirus cases and 305 COVID-19 deaths, the Korea Centers for Disease Prevention and Control said on Sunday.

The deadly virus outbreak has created a major stir around the world in recent times infecting more than 19.6 million people globally and claiming the lives of over 727,000 people worldwide in more than 170 nations.

(With agency inputs)