The World Health Organization has reportedly released its tally of coronavirus tests in North Korea, and that tally reaffirms the North's claim that there are no confirmed cases of the virus in the reclusive state as of yet.
In an email by Edwin Salvador, the WHO representative in Pyeongyang, sent to U.S.-based Radio Free Asia on Wednesday North Korea has tested one,211 people for the coronavirus up until July 16th, and all of them have tested negative for the coronavirus.
He also said 696 North Korean nationals are in quarantine. They had been working near its northwestern border city of Sinuiju, which faces the Chinese city of Dandong.
With this, the number of people who have been tested has risen by 94, and the number quarantined by 86, compared to the week before.
The official said North Korea has been stepping up quarantine measures around the Chinese border as the number of cases is rising again in China and that the routes in the border area have remained shut since the outbreak in China in January.
The North's Korean Central News Agency has reported that leader Kim Jong-un had convened an emergency politburo meeting of the Workers' Party to adopt a (quote)"maximum emergency system" against the coronavirus citing a possible spread in Gaeseong due to the return of an ex-defector suspected of carrying the virus.
This has been refuted by South Korean health authorities, who said the defector was not a COVID-19 patient, nor did he show symptoms, thus it's unlikely the defector had caused an outbreak in the North.
Pundits in South Korea have said the North could be using this incident as a way to blame South Korea for a possible surge in coronavirus cases.
Kim Ji-yeon, Arirang News.