Coronavirus! North Korea reports first case of virus


North Korea has reported its first case of the coronavirus, according to South Korean media.

The patient, a woman from Pyongyang, recently returned to the North from China, the Joongang Ilbo, a daily newspaper, said on Friday, citing state-run media.

The reports did not give details of when the woman was diagnosed or her state of health.

The country has taken several measures to guard against the disease – which has affected all of its neighbours – amid warnings that an epidemic could put an intolerable strain on its poor healthcare infrastructure.

North Korea has suspended flights from China and Russia and closed train routes across its borders with those two countries and. It has also imposed a ban on foreign tourism and suspended operations at a liaison office it runs with South Korea just north of the demilitarised zone, the heavily armed border separating North and South Korea.

The country’s authorities have stepped up border inspections and health screenings of North Koreans returning from overseas business trips, according to the Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper of the ruling Workers’ party.

The newspaper said 30,000 health workers had been mobilised to monitor residents and distribute advice on how the disease spreads and how to avoid becoming infected.