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[Newsmaker] Doctors Without Borders to help NK address COVID-19

An international health charity received UN approval for an exemption from sanctions against North Korea so it can help the country tackle COVID-19 and tuberculosis.

The UN Security Council’s committee on sanctions against North Korea said Wednesday that it had approved a sanctions exemption for Doctors Without Borders, known by the French abbreviation MSF, to support North Korea with nutrition aid, diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis, and COVID-19 response measures.

MSF plans to run medical programs to deal with COVID-19, address malnutrition, and diagnose and treat tuberculosis and multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in North Hamgyong Province. It will also provide emergency and general medical aid for residents of Kyongsong County, North Hamgyong Province.

MSF is now allowed to bring in 6,000 surgical masks, 2,000 protective suits and 1,000 filtering respirators for 12 months starting Oct. 14.

The UN sanctions committee said it had extended the exemption period for MSF “on an exceptional basis.”

The UN has approved requests from eight international organizations and nongovernmental organizations, as well as countries such as Finland, Italy and South Korea, for humanitarian extensions of the time frame for their exemptions from sanctions on North Korea since June this year.

By Kim So-hyun (