North Korea is one of the most secretive and closed-off states on the planet, and when news of the goings-on there does manage to ‘sneak’ past the state-run media, it’s usually a display of military capability or a missile test designed to flex the country’s nuclear strength.
It’s a dictatorship. Getting in is difficult, and leaving even more so, especially for North Koreans.
It’s no surprise, all considered, that it managed to stay virus-free (at least officially) while the rest of the world battled the pandemic.
Instead of issuing hard lockdowns, PPE measures, and beefing up hospital facilities in preparation for the coming storm, North Korea was bombing the liaison office in the border town of Kaesong “to prevent activists from sending anti-North Korean leaflets across the border”.
It couldn’t last forever, though. The virus has a way of sneaking into countries, no matter how secure they seem.
North Korea declared a maximum national emergency, issued a top class alert, and imposed a full lock down on the border city of Kaesong after discovering what it says is the country’s first suspected coronavirus case.
North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un presided over the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK)’s emergency enlarged meeting the day before, in regards to the situation, the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said on Sunday.
Keep in mind that what North Korea says and the truth are usually diametrically opposed.
The big question is, how did the virus cross those seemingly impenetrable borders?
A North Korean who had defected to South Korea three years ago is said to have returned on July 19 and the person “is suspected to have been infected with the vicious virus [the coronavirus]”, KCNA reported.
This is based on results “from several medical check-ups of the secretion of that person’s upper respiratory organ and blood.”
The person suspected of being patient zero in North Korea is also facing some serious allegations.
An official from the Gyeonggi Nambu Provincial Police says that the man is accused of sexually assaulting a woman at his home in Gimpo, but the case has yet to be sent to the public prosecutor’s office.
A YouTuber who also defected to the South and who claims she was close to him, said that he returned to the North to avoid punishment for the allegations against him.
South Korea’s military said in a press briefing on Monday that its Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) has identified the location where the person defected, around Ganghwado, an island west of Incheon and Gimpo.
He is suspected to have reentered the country through a water drain underneath a fence.
He has been put in isolation, and contact tracing has commenced.
I shudder to think about what a state of emergency looks like with Kim Jong Un at the helm.
Sit tight for images of him inspecting things in the healthcare sector.
We all know how he likes inspecting things.
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