While the world recorded over 2,400,000 Coronavirus cases and 165,000 deaths, North Korea has finally clarified its position to the citizens when authorities told the residents in public lectures that there were confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country as early as the end of March.
It should be noted that earlier the ever-secretive country had repeatedly said that there were no confirmed Coronavirus cases and leader Kim Jong-un was also criticized for hiding facts related to the pandemic.
North Korea coronavirus case
In a report by Radio Free Asia, it was revealed that while talking to local organisations and neighbourhood watch groups, some leaders involved in lectures admitted that there were confirmed Coronavirus cases in the country. Even though they did not reveal the scale of the COVID-19 infection and deaths in the country, the speakers cited two sources -- Pyongyang and Ryanggang provinces.
While the supreme leader of North Korea has been denying cases of Coronavirus in the country, as per the new report, the unnamed speakers revealed that the confirmed COVID-19 cases were in Pyongyang, South Hwanghae province and North Hamgyong province. It should be noted that North Hamgyong is in the northeast region of North Korea, while South Hwanghae is in the southwest -- which showed the scale of distance that the virus has traveled.
Early reports claimed that Pyongyang had reinforced border checks and ordered foreigners from any country that has reported a case of novel Coronavirus to spend 30 days in quarantine.
An unnamed resident in Ryanggang province told RFA's Korean Service Thursday, "[They] held a lecture session for all the residents titled 'Let's all work together on the Coronavirus quarantine project to [successfully] implement the Supreme Leader's policies.'"
The source added that as per the speaker, "There were confirmed Coronavirus patients among [the people]. They said that the [Korean Workers'] Party's quarantine guidelines had not been implemented properly by us and that this caused serious damage to the people's economy. The speaker appealed to us all to prevent [further] damage [to society] so we can together win the war against the coronavirus."
It should be mentioned that state media KCNA said on Saturday, April 18 that the North Korean authorities are currently looking into whether there is still any space for infectious diseases to enter the country, "in line with the complete blockade of borders, airspace and territorial waters" until the global Coronavirus pandemic is under control.
Earlier Mail Online reported that North Korea had been working "day and night" to build a new hospital 'faster and better' than planned. Work on the new Pyongyang General Hospital started suddenly almost a month ago, with Kim Jong-un setting an ambitious 200-day deadline to complete the project.
However, the North Korea leader Kim appeared to downplay any link to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic at the time, as he made no reference to it at a groundbreaking ceremony and instead linking completion to a national holiday.
On Saturday, during his White House briefing, US President Donald Trump said, "I received a nice note from him recently. It was a nice note. I think we're doing fine." But a day later, on Sunday, North Korea's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Kim Jong-un sent no letter to Trump.
It said North Korea would examine why the US leadership released "the ungrounded story" to the media while adding that "the relations between the top leaders of [North Korea] and the US are not an issue to be taken up just for diversion nor it should be misused for meeting selfish purposes."