Kim Jong-un declares emergency in North Korea after suspected COVID-19 case

North Korea has officially declared a state of emergency after a person suspected of having coronavirus illegally crossed the border from South Korea. The North Korean border town of Kaesong has since been placed under lockdown.

If the case is confirmed, this would be the first COVID-19 diagnosis officially acknowledged by North Korean authorities.

Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un has declared a state of emergency in North Korea, following a potential COVID-19 case in the border town of Kaesong.

The suspected case is linked to a citizen who illegally crossed the border to re-enter North Korea on July 19th, after defecting from the country three years ago. The Korean Central News Agency did not state whether the person had been tested, but revealed that an “uncertain result was made from several medical checkups of the secretion of that person’s upper respiratory organ and blood”.

The individual has been since been quarantined, with officials also investigating any people he may have come in contact with.

North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un held an emergency meeting in response to what he referred to as a “critical situation in which the vicious virus could be said to have entered the country.”

The announcement of their first potential COVID-19 case has been seen as significant by many individuals, including professor at Seoul’s Kyung Hee University Choo Jae-woo. He argues that in making the statement, North Korea “could be reaching out to the world for help. Perhaps for humanitarian assistance.” Jae-woo’s argument is strengthened by North Korea’s dire financial situation following international sanctions over the country’s nuclear programme.

For now, the nation will recommence a stricter lockdown after restrictions had just been slightly eased, leaving citizens anxiously waiting for news on the suspected case.