Despite rumors about its leader Kim Jong Un suffering from COVID-19, the nation of North Korea has continued to claim that it is free of Coronavirus infections. However, the government of the communist state has now revealed that it is faced with what it claims is the first suspected case of COVID-19.
The person suffering from the symptoms has been described as a defector who crossed the border into South Korea three years ago but returned to his home country, by again illegally crossing the border, earlier this month.
"An emergency event happened in Kaesong City where a runaway who went to the south three years ago, a person who is suspected to have been infected with the vicious (Corona) virus returned on Jul 19 after illegally crossing the demarcation line," the official statement of the country's state news agency KCNA read.
The development has caused tremors in the North Korean administration. Yesterday, the country's leader Kim Jong Un chaired a meeting of the politburo and asked the state machinery to go all out in dealing with a possible health crisis.
As of now, there isn't clarity regarding the testing method followed for assessing the person. The news agency stated that the person's "uncertain result was made from several medical check-ups of the secretion of that person's upper respiratory organ and blood."
What's the truth?
Though the communist state is claiming that this is the first suspected case of the infection that has gripped the entire world, including the closest neighbors of North Korea, there has been widespread skepticism of the claim that the Hermit Kingdom was totally shielded from the virus.
With the country being closed to international media and known for being ultra-secretive in its manner of functioning, it is hard to make any estimations of the situation over there. Kim Jong Un has praised his country's efforts at stopping the global pandemic from reaching his country.
North Korea has been the recipient of testing kits from various countries, chiefly Russia. It has also been placing a large number of people in quarantine and imposing severe restrictions on travel in and outside the country.
Still, there is a strong suspicion that this announcement of the 'first case' may be a way for the regime to slowly accept the actual situation on the ground. The story of the person being supposedly monitored seems suspicious. A person defecting to South Korea and coming back to his poverty-stricken and tyrannically-ruled country seems very unlikely.
South Korea has not reported any illegal crossings from its side. To make a person returning from the southern nation of the Korean peninsula the carrier of the virus would also be a way for the North to maintain its claim of having been free of COVID-19.