North Korean official reportedly executed for breaking coronavirus quarantine

Alonzo Simpson
February 14, 2020

North Korea has virtually suspended all cooperation and diplomatic activities with the South in past months amid a standstill in large nuclear negotiations with the United States, which have faltered over disagreements in easing US-led sanctions against the North in exchange for the North's disarmament steps.

State media reported that North Korea's Red Cross Society had been deployed to "relevant areas" around the country to conduct public education campaigns and to monitor people with possible symptoms.

"Considering how there are many porous sections of the North Korea-China border - and how the Kim regime depends on illegal trade to survive - it is clear the virus has come to North Korea".

"The United States is ready and prepared to expeditiously facilitate the approval of assistance from these organizations".

The United States eased its approach on humanitarian aid previous year as diplomacy stepped up with North Korea on its nuclear program but it still maintains tough restrictions, including a ban on all travel to the country by U.S. citizens.

Aid groups traveling to North Korea seek exemptions from sweeping U.S. and United Nations sanctions, which were imposed over the authoritarian state's nuclear and missile work.

Novel coronavirus gets an official new name - COVID-19 says WHO
Researchers were looking for an official name of the virus in order to avoid confusion and stigmatisation of any group or country. Also on Tuesday, 871 patients became seriously ill, while 744 people were discharged from hospital after recovery.

Officials in tightly controlled North Korea have said nothing about coronavirus cases but state media this week said foreigners would undergo a 30-day quarantine.

Officials have stopped airline flights and train services with its neighbours, established weeks-long mandatory quarantines for recently arrived foreigners, suspended global tourism and imposed a near-complete lockdown on cross-border travel.

South Korea, which has reported 28 cases of the virus, said there's a need for inter-Korean cooperation to contain the spread of the disease.

"A trade official who was quarantined after traveling to China secretly visited a public bath earlier this month, was caught, arrested, and immediately shot", reports South Korea's Dong-a Ilbo newspaper, citing multiple sources.

Professor Kelly, from Pusan National University, has warned: "North Korea lacks the doctors, hospitals, reserves of medicine, modern medical devices, and so on to respond adequately and prevent a spiralling spread".

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