North Korea is secretly asking for coronavirus aid from other countries while publicly denying that it has any cases

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un takes part in a meeting with the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) in Pyongyang, North Korea in this image released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on February 29, 2020.    KCNA via REUTERS

North Korea is quietly soliciting coronavirus aid from other countries while publicly denying it has any confirmed infections, according to the Financial Times.
Officials from the isolated country recently asked for urgent help from their counterparts in other countries, the FT reported, citing unnamed sources.
Aid agencies also said North Korea has approached them for help, and that masks and test kits are now slowly making their way across its border with China, Reuters reported.
Leader Kim Jong Un’s government has been officially reporting zero coronavirus infections. It shut its border with China — where the virus broke out — in late January.
Experts with knowledge of North Korea’s healthcare system previously told Business Insider the country is too badly equipped to handle an outbreak like the coronavirus.
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North Korea has been quietly soliciting coronavirus aid from other countries even though it has publicly denied the existence of any cases on home soil, according to a new report.

Officials in the isolated country have privately reached out to their counterparts in other countries asking for urgent help in fighting the outbreak, the Financial Times reported, citing several people familiar with the matter and an unidentified document.

The country has also asked hospitals in South Korea and several international aid agencies for masks and test machines, Reuters reported last Friday, citing two sources with knowledge of the matter.

North Korea has officially reported no cases of the coronavirus, and, in late January, shut its border with China after the outbreak started to spill out of the central Hubei province into other regions near the border.

According to the FT, the country has tested at least 590 citizens — all of whom had arrived from outside the country in January — but all of them tested negative.

Foreign media and experts doubt the official infection toll, however.

Some South Korean media outlets have reported that North Korea has recorded deaths from the coronavirus, but that the regime is concealing them from the world.

Daily NK, a news site focusing on North Korea, also reported that 180 North Korean soldiers died of the virus in January and February, and that another 3,700 were sent to quarantine.

South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo said that there were at least two suspected cases of the illness in the city of Sinuiju, which borders China. Daily …read more

Source:: Business Insider

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