The claims from a leaked report, which prove North Korea has been battling COVID-19 like the rest of the world, will come as an embarrassment to the crackpot despot, who has refused to admit his kingdom has been hit. In April, director of the anti-epidemic department of North Korea’s Central Emergency Anti-epidemic Headquarters, Pak Myong Su bragged “not a single person was infected” with coronavirus in the nation because of it’s “preemptive measures.”
But this claim was undermined by a source who told Radio Free Asia’s Korean Service health officials had been sacked over failures.
Speaking after Kim hosted a meeting on July 2, the source in North Pyongan province told RFA: “The Highest Dignity convened a large meeting of the Political Bureau to review the efforts of the National Emergency Quarantine Command, responsible for preventing the spread of the coronavirus and to question the problems that have emerged so far.
“Since then, some senior officials of the National Emergency Quarantine Command, who were in charge of the entire national quarantine project, have been removed from their posts.
“Senior officials of the quarantine command in charge of the border areas, including Sinuiju and Ryongchon, were dismissed, and new officials were appointed.”
The source told how the meeting focused on the spread of the disease in North Pyongan.
A resident of South Pyongan province told how preventative measures to contain the virus had failed despite the secretive state claiming it is the only neighbour of China not to have reported a single case of COVID-19 since the outbreak.
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“The quarantine issue will still not be resolved.”
The news comes after it emerged primary and secondary schools in North Korea were ordered to close and go on early summer holidays amid concerns of the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Sources said North Korean school children would probably not return to the classroom until September.
Meanwhile, North Korea backtracked on plans to reopen border trade with Beijing over fears of new coronavirus cases in nearby northeastern Chinese provinces.
The move was despite North Korea’s economy being crippled by a halt in trade with China on top of US and UN sanctions designed to deter the regime from developing its missile programme.