SEOUL: The first shipments of international medical aid are due to arrive at North Korea’s borders this week to shore up its defences against the coronavirus, but strict border controls could mean the stream of supplies remains a trickle. Some aid organisations had to get emergency sanction exemptions from the United Nations to clear the way for the shipments and are now navigating North Korea’s border controls imposed in a bid to shut out the virus. North Korea has not reported any confirmed cases of the coronavirus that was first detected in China late last year, though a top US military official said last week he is “fairly certain” there were infections in North Korea. READ: No mask, no mistake for North Korea’s Kim The North’s state-run KCNA news agency reported on Friday (Mar 20) that all but three foreigners who had been in quarantine had been released after “medical monitoring and examination”. It ordered all foreigners to spend 30 days in quarantine. North Korea is especially vulnerable to a coronavirus outbreak as its health system lacks resources, in part, aid organisations say, because of international sanctions imposed over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes. Aid groups have made urgent pleas for… Read full this story
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