North Korean state media has publicly admitted the likely presence of coronavirus in the country, reversing Pyongyang’s longstanding and widely doubted claim of no coronavirus cases within its borders. But the details remain murky: just how widespread is the infection, and what has the government been doing to curb it? Here is everything we know about North Korea’s ongoing coronavirus response.
Chinese authorities formally notified the World Health Organization on January four that forty-four of its citizens had been infected by “pneumonia of unknown cause.” There is some indication that Pyongyang, which shares a 880 mile-long border with China, took a handful of preventative measures in the following weeks. These included banning foreign (mainly Chinese) tourists, restricting the travel rights of diplomats on North Korean soil, and curtailing certain trade activities and joint enterprises with China. Still, North Korea’s subsequent insistence on having zero coronavirus patients strains belief in light of the extensive economic, military, and cultural ties that Pyongyang has cultivated with Beijing for the past sixty years.