North Korea has intensified its “anti-epidemic activities” to stop the spread of novel coronavirus while the country continues to report zero COVID-19 cases. According to the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the authorities are steadily taking preventive measures against the “widespread malignant virus infection”.
Surprisingly, North Korea has not reported a single confirmed case of coronavirus so far which the Politburo had reportedly called as a result of the country’s top-class emergency anti-epidemic measures from the outset. The World Health Organisation (WHO) had also said that it has been receiving weekly updates from the health ministry and the country has the capacity to test coronavirus in its national reference laboratory in Pyongyang.
It remains almost impossible for foreign media to independently confirm the health condition of North Korea’s leader due to the lack of press freedom. Reporters Without Borders, in its recent World Press Freedom Index report, said that foreign correspondents are not permitted to investigate the measures taken by Pyongyang to protect itself from the pandemic.
The dissemination of news about the coronavirus is also restricted by technical means as the internal transmission of documents is in the hands of the national intranet, putting almost total control of communications. Several foreign experts have raised doubts over the veracity of report on coronavirus from North Korea, which shares a border with China and South Korea.
The state-run agency said that a special committee is reviewing “some deviations” in the state emergency anti-epidemic response through teleconferencing. It added that headquarters for virus response have intensified the control on quarantine, lockdown, inspection and sterilisation.
The Ministry of Public Health has reportedly established an information system for COVID-19 response and stockpiled necessary materials. The state-run media also reported that the health ministry is “actively” pushing ahead with the development of a potential vaccine against the coronavirus as countries around the world is in the race to develop one.
(With agency inputs | Image: AP )