World Heath Organisation (WHO) said on February 19 that no reports of the deadly coronavirus were confirmed in North Korea after the South Korean media suggested that there were few cases and deaths which were being covered up by the Pyongyang authorities. Head of WHO's emergencies programme, Dr Mike Ryan, spoke to the media in Geneva on Tuesday and said that currently there are no signals or any indications regarding the coronavirus outbreak in North Korea. WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said that North Korea has curbed nearly 7,300 travellers entering the country over a period of six weeks.
According to the reports, the North Korean health ministry said that they have tested 141 travellers with fevers for the virus and all had tested negative. North Korea on February 4 said, that it was mobilising more than 30,000 health workers every day in an effort to guard against the spread of the deadly coronavirus that is causing havoc in neighbouring China. North Korea's state media reported that authorities have redoubled border inspections and are conducting screenings and medical surveillance on those returning from overseas business trips. As per reports, tens and thousands of workers were working in China before the United Nations asked Beijing to send them back in early December.
China is the closest and the last diplomatic ally of North Korea and is also an aid benefactor as it shares a long border with the mainland. So far, North Korea hasn't reported any case of the new coronavirus despite being the closest to the epicentre of the disease. According to media reports, experts fear that North Korea could be under the threat of the spread of the contagious virus because of poor health care infrastructure and lack of medical supplies in the country.
The death toll from the novel coronavirus outbreak has reportedly climbed to 2,004 globally. Over 136 new fatalities in mainland China have been confirmed in the past 24 hours, China’s state health committee officials confirmed. The confirmed cases of COVID-19 have soared by 2,000 and the total global figure has reached 74,185 as of February 19.