Kim Jong-un has ordered his citizens to obey an "emergency coronavirus quarantine" as North Korea is feared to be facing a large outbreak.
Supreme leader Kim held the meeting today as he directly addressed the threat from the deadly virus which is sweeping the globe.
More than 80,000 people have been infected worldwide, and almost 3,000 people have been killed by the infection which originated in China.
North Korea has yet to confirm a coronavirus case, but worrying reports are emerging the beggar kingdom.
It is alleged one coronavirus sufferer was shot dead after he went to a public baths, and it is claimed more than 1,000 people have been rounded up for quarantine at a hotel in Pyongyang.
Horror writer Dean Koontz predicted coronavirus in novel written 40 years ago
Coronavirus plan for London sees 40,000 dead and burials in mass graves
Coronavirus fears for Ayatollah, 81, as advisor who met him days ago hit by illness
North Korean state media reported Kim said his country "must obey all central control over emergency quarantine".
It came as the supreme leader over oversaw military drills on Friday, reports KCNA.
Kim also held a meeting of the ruling Workers' Party's powerful politburo to discuss "anti-epidemics steps" to prevent the spread of the virus.
Pyongyang has yet to confirm any cases despite sharing a border with China, where the virus originated in the city of Wuhan.
While across the border in vastly more developed South Korea, more than 284 cases have been confirmed – all fuelling fears Kim is covering up the outbreak in North Korea.
WWE Super ShowDown hit by coronavirus fears as Saudi Arabia fans wear face masks
North Korea ‘rounds up 1,300 people for quarantine’ amid fears of outbreak cover-up
North Korean authorities have reportedly rounded up anyone feared to have the virus in the capital and placed them at the hotel for observation.
The hotel – named the 4.25 Hotel – selected to act as the makeshift quarantine zone has a capacity of 20,000, reports RFA.
“Those who cough or have a fever are classified as suspected coronavirus patients,” a source said.
“The suspected patients will be closely monitored by the emergency quarantine committee of Pyongyang over the next 20 days.
“Currently the number of suspected patients is around 1,300. Another 500 have already been discharged because their symptoms have eased.”
Prince George and Charlotte's school hit by coronavirus fears as pupils isolated
World’s richest people lost $139 billion in one day due to coronavirus panic
Officials reportedly said those held in the hotel are either placed in solitary or shared rooms depending on their symptoms.
Doctors from the regime’s Ministry of Public Health are reportedly on site treating anyone who has symptoms.
Pyongyang is reported to be the top priority for the regime in keeping it free of the virus.
“Extreme quarantine” is reportedly being rolled out across the city – which has a population of almost 3 million people.
China bans eating wild animals to fight coronavirus outbreak as thousands infected
Hundreds of animals mysteriously drop dead in China amid coronavirus outbreak
Kim’s regime reportedly cremated 12 people in North Hamgyong – claiming they died of pneumonia.
It is believed by experts to be unlikely that coronavirus will not impact North Korea, and there are ongoing fears about how the pauper state can cope.
Kim was last week seen for the first time in 22 days amid the outbreak.
North Korea have also reportedly been disposing of bodies quietly to avoid panic amid the potential epidemic.
Pyongyang reacted early during the outbreak – shutting down its borders to tourists from China as early reports emerged from Wuhan.
Chinese warship crew quarantined over coronavirus as military admit outbreak fears
Bible prophecy shows coronavirus will be ‘biggest disaster in centuries’, claims Rabbi
State-media articles within North Korea have also said the virus is a “fight” and is a matter for “survival” of the state.
North Korea scholar Professor Robert E. Kelly said an epidemic in North Korea would be a “matter of national survival”.
He compared it to the famine which ravaged the hermit kingdom in the nineties – which ended up killing up to 3.5 million people.
Writing for National Interest, Professor Kelly explained that Kim knows his hermit kingdom does not have the resources to fight back against coronavirus.
First British patient dies of coronavirus after travelling on cruise ship
Coronavirus could close UK schools for two months under 'emergency' plans to stop spread
Professor Kelly, from Pusan National University, wrote: “North Korea lacks the doctors, hospitals, reserves of medicine, modern medical devices, and so on to respond adequately and prevent a spiraling spread.
“An epidemic would be, as the regime itself realized, a matter of national survival.
He added: “ Pyongyang has neither the resources nor the administrative culture – transparency, empiricism divorced from ideology, technocracy – to respond to a genuine epidemic.
“Sustained foreign assistance and, failing that, brutal repression would almost certainly be necessary to prevent a local plague.”
Coronavirus outbreak forces Switzerland to cancel all major sport and music events
Coronavirus UK concerns force Newcastle United to ban players from shaking hands
The professor also North Korea’s healthcare system has been “broken for decades” and would be unable to cope.
Professor Kelly however did say a small outbreak would be able to be contained by Pyongyang.
He explained an hint the coronavirus in North Korea would snap Kim’s regime into action.
The expert predicted a campaign of repression would be launched to crackdown on any potential victims.
Dog tests positive for coronavirus after patient 'transfers disease' to beloved pet
OnlyFans models using coronavirus epidemic to flog nude selfies on Twitter
However, Jean Lee, the director off the Hyundai Motor-Korea Foundation Center for Korean History, told CNN: “North Korea has such a limited supply of basic medicine that public health officials need to focus on preventative medicine.
“They would be ill-equipped to deal with any kind of epidemic.”
Choi Jung-hun, a former doctor n North Korea who escaped the regime in 2011, also said Pyongyang does not have the resources to operate full-scale quarantine.
He worked on a measles outbreak within the country in 2006 to 2007 and said medics wee ill-equipped to fight back.
Today's Top Stories
"The problem in North Korea is that manuals are not followed,” the physician explained.
“When there wasn't enough food provided for the people at hospitals and quarantine facilities, people escaped to look for food.”
And meanwhile North Korea faces the threat of the epidemic, the country could also see its already crippling economy crisis worsen.
Source: Read Full Article