North Korea: Kim sends aid to confined city

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SEOUL | North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ordered aid to be sent to Kaesong, a town on the Inter-Korean border confined since July to fight the coronavirus, the official KCNA news agency said on Sunday.

The North Korean authorities said they had established a state of maximum emergency in Kaesong in July after discovering a possible case of contamination with the coronavirus, which would be the first in the country.

KCNA reported that a train loaded with aid, including food and medicine, arrived in the town on Friday.

“The Supreme Leader ensured that emergency measures were taken to provide food and medicine after the town was totally blocked off, and this time he ensured that large quantities of rice and help be sent to the city, ”the official agency said.

KCNA adds that Mr. Kim is concerned “day and night” about the plight of the inhabitants of Kaesong who continue according to the agency “their campaign to check the progression of the harmful virus”.

Last month, Pyongyang announced that a defector who fled to South Korea three years ago returned illegally to North Korea on July 19, “illegally crossing” the closely guarded border between the two countries.

The South Korean military confirmed at the time that there was a “great possibility” that a defector had recently returned to the North.

The man, who was showing symptoms of COVID-19, was placed under “strict quarantine,” North Korean authorities said, who have not formally confirmed whether he had tested positive.

If so, it would be the first officially recognized case of COVID-19 in North Korea. Until then, Pyongyang said it had not identified any case of contamination. Experts express doubts about this.

North Korea closed its border with China at the end of January, where the virus had appeared. It has imposed harsh restrictions, placing thousands of people in isolation.

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