North Korea’s Kim sends aid to city locked down over virus

Agence France-Presse, Agence France-Presse
North Korea’s Kim sends aid to city locked down over virus

A general view shows fields and buildings of the North Korean countryside outside Kaesong, seen across the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) from the South Korean island of Ganghwa on April 23, 2020. - The United States will keep seeking North Korea's denuclearization no matter who is in charge in Pyongyang, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, amid speculation about leader Kim Jong Un's health. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is concerned 'day and night' about people in Kaesong, says state news agency KCNA

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has ordered the distribution of aid to the border city of Kaesong after the area was locked down last month to fight the coronavirus, state media said Sunday, August 9.

Authorities raised the state of emergency to the maximum level for the city in July, saying they had discovered the country’s first suspected virus case.

A train carrying goods arrived in the “totally blocked” city of Kaesong on Friday, August 7, the official KCNA news agency reported. (READ: Some ‘starving’ in North Korea as virus measures deepen food crisis – U.N. expert)

“The Supreme Leader has made sure that emergency measures were taken for supplying food and medicines right after the city was totally blocked and this time he saw to it that lots of rice and subsidy were sent to the city,” it said.

Kim had been concerned “day and night” about people in Kaesong as they continue their “campaign for checking the spread of the malignant virus,” the report added.

Last month, Pyongyang said a defector who had left for South Korea 3 years ago returned on July 19 by “illegally crossing” the heavily fortified border dividing the two countries.

The man showed symptoms of coronavirus and was put under “strict quarantine,” authorities said, but the North has yet to confirm whether he tested positive.

If confirmed, it would be the first officially recognized case of COVID-19 in North Korea, where medical infrastructure is seen as woefully inadequate to deal with any epidemic.

The nuclear-armed North closed its borders in late January as the virus spread in neighboring China.

It imposed tough restrictions that put thousands of people into isolation, but analysts say the country is unlikely to have avoided the contagion. –