Not a single case of Covid-19 detected, North Korea tells WHO

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Not a single case of Covid-19 detected, North Korea tells WHO

By Seoul

North Korea has told the World Health Organisation it tested more than 30,000 people for the coronavirus through June 10 but has yet to find a single infection.

The WHO said in a monitoring report Tuesday that North Korea’s testing figures included 733 people who were tested during June 4-10, of which 149 were with influenza-like illnesses or severe respiratory infections.

Experts widely doubt North Korea’s claim that it has not had a single case of the virus, given its poor health infrastructure and porous border with China, its major ally and economic lifeline.

Describing its anti-virus efforts as a matter of national existence, the North has banned tourists, jetted out diplomats and severely restricted cross-border traffic and trade. The self-imposed lockdown has caused further strain on an economy already battered by decades of mismanagement and crippling US-led sanctions over the country’s nuclear weapons programme.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a political conference last week called for officials to brace for prolonged COVID-19 restrictions, indicating that the country isn’t ready to open its borders anytime soon.

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