North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has reportedly been in a state of panic as he tries to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which originated in China, in his country, which is poorly equipped to handle public health issues.
Kim “executed two people, closed the country’s capital, and banned fishing at sea in a frantic attempt to prevent the spread of coronavirus, South Korea’s spy agency told lawmakers Friday,” the New York Post reported. “The tyrant has been lashing out with ‘excessive anger’ and taking ‘irrational measures’ in recent weeks as a result of the pandemic, said one of the officials, Ha Tae-keung, who was briefed by National Intelligence Service.”
North Korea is so isolated from the rest of the world and is so underdeveloped that a report last year from the prestigious Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health ranked the nation 193 out of 195 nations in terms of being prepared to face a pandemic.
Kim spoke at an alleged military parade last month where he claimed that North Korea had not had a single coronavirus victim. CNN noted that “few experts believe that North Korea, a country of nearly 25 million people which shares a border with China, could have escaped the effects of a pandemic that has infected more than 36 million people worldwide, and killed more than 1 million people.”
The South China Morning Post reported:
Almost a year into the global emergency, a growing body of unverified reports and testimony from inside the notoriously secretive country is fuelling doubt about the North’s claimed clean bill of health.
The steady trickle of information – much of it based on second or third-hand recounting of claims by anonymous sources inside North Korea – raises the possibility of a humanitarian disaster in a country with poor medical care and widespread chronic malnourishment.
Tim Peters, a Christian activist who runs Seoul-based non-profit Helping Hands Korea, said sources in the North had reported the establishment of “quarantine camps” in cities near the Chinese border where medical neglect and starvation were common.
“One of the more alarming pieces of information that has come our way is that the DPRK government is providing absolutely minimal or no food or medicine to those who are interred there,” Peters said. “So, it’s up to the families of the quarantined citizens to come to the edge of the camps and bring food to keep quarantined relatives alive along with whatever health-related aids that they can muster, whether it be purchased medicines sold in the jangmadang markets, or even herbal home remedies gathered from mountainsides. My sources indicate many in these camps have already died, not only from the pandemic but also from starvation and related causes.”
He added, “In short, my sense is that the situation pertaining to Covid-19 inside North Korea is gravely serious.”
David Lee, a pastor who works with North Korean defectors in South Korea, said that his sources have claimed that those who have symptoms in North Korea were “being forced into isolation, or being boarded up in their homes without food or other support and left to die.”
Kim offered a rare apology in September for the killing of a South Korean government official who, after he was killed, had oil thrown on his body and was burned over fears that he might have the coronavirus.
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