Kim Jong Un warns of ‘serious consequences’ if coronavirus hits North Korea
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is spearheading efforts to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the isolated country, Reuters reported Friday.
The country does not have any cases on the virus so far, but its neighbors to the north and south — China and South Korea — are the two countries hit hardest by the outbreak.
“In case the infectious disease spreading beyond control finds its way into our country, it will entail serious consequences,” Kim was quoted as saying by the state-run news agency KCNA. “No special cases must be allowed within the state anti-epidemic system.”
He instructed officials to “seal off all the channels and space through which the infectious disease may find its way, and strengthen check-up, test and quarantine.”
In light of that quarantine, 60 diplomats from Germany, France and Switzerland living in North Korea are being evacuated, CNN reported Friday. Other countries are planning to reduce operations in the country but keeping diplomats there.
KCNA posted images and articles of Kim conducting military drills without a surgical mask. As Reuters noted, the aides who accompanied Kim on the military drills had identical black masks, though none of the participants at the meeting did.
“Kim’s activities appear to be intended to highlight to his people that his campaign to build a self-reliant economy is business as usual while boosting military morale and also showing they were not affected by the virus,” Kim Dong-yup, a professor at Kyungnam University in Seoul, told Reuters.