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N. Korea repeats claim of zero COVID-19 infection: WHO

Kim Il-sung Square in Pyongyang. (AFP-Yonhap)
Kim Il-sung Square in Pyongyang. (AFP-Yonhap)
North Korea has yet to report a single infection case of the noble coronavirus as of Oct. 29, the World Health Organization said in its latest report released Friday. The country has tested 10,462 people, it added.

The WHO said in August it had been informed of zero infections in the North.

Only about 3,000 North Koreans had been tested until September, according to Edwin Salvador, WHO representative to Pyongyang. All the rest took the test in October alone, but the WHO report did not offer an explanation for the dramatic hike in the number of test-takers.

Experts attributed the sudden rise to outside assistance.

“I also know that a number of international organizations have been sending test machines, so maybe these test machines have arrived. It looks like additional testing kits have also come in,” Park Kee-bum, a lecturer on global health and social medicine at Harvard Medical School, told Radio Free Asia on Monday.

The report said a total of 32,011 people have been released from quarantine so far, adding COVID-19 assistance to the isolated country continued to make way there.

The WHO had already sent Pyongyang medical supplies including thermometers and oxygen concentrators, as did international aid groups that shipped additional relief goods for the hunger-stricken population there suffering perennial food shortages.

By Choi Si-young (