What is understood about North Korea’s potential coronavirus ‘patient zero’

Seoul, July 27

After North Korea introduced what could possibly be its first publicly confirmed case of coronavirus on Sunday, officers in Seoul consider they might have recognized the person suspected of crossing into the North, however mentioned thus far there is no such thing as a signal he was contaminated.

Who is the affected person?

North Korea’s state media solely described the suspected affected person as an individual who had “run away” to South Korea three years in the past earlier than returning to the North.

South Korean officers haven’t named the individual however recognized a 24-year-old man, who they are saying matches the outline and doubtless returned to the North lately, Yonhap information company reported.

Gyeonggi Nambu Provincial Police Agency advised Reuters that in June, a lady filed a criticism accusing the person of sexual abuse.

Police mentioned they issued a warrant for the person’s arrest on July 19, the identical day he’s alleged to have arrived in North Korea.

Does he have COVID-19?

North Korea had mentioned it had no confirmed circumstances of the virus, a declare some consultants and the US officers have solid doubt on.

North Korea’s report didn’t specify whether or not the individual had examined constructive for COVID-19, solely that he had proven signs and that a number of medical checks returned “an uncertain result”.

South Korean well being authorities mentioned they’d discovered no signal that the person recognized because the potential defector had examined constructive for the virus or been involved with anybody who had, Health Ministry official Yoon Tae-ho advised a briefing on Monday.

“We cannot confirm whether this person is a suspected COVID-19 patient or not,” he mentioned.

Two individuals who had been involved with the person had examined detrimental for the virus on Sunday, Yoon added.

How did he return to North Korea?

North Korean state media mentioned the suspected COVID-19 affected person “illegally crossed” the demarcation line on July 19 and chief Kim Jong Un referred to as for an investigation into the army models on the border.

The man is believed to have crossed from Gwanghwa, a South Korean island about 25 kilometres (15.5 miles) from Kaesong, the border metropolis in North Korea the place he was caught, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff mentioned on Monday.

He seems to have evaded troops on the South aspect of the border by passing by way of a drain pipe below barbed wire fences and authorities discovered a bag believed to belong to him, the JCS mentioned.

More than 30,000 North Korean defectors dwell in South Korea whereas at the very least 11 have returned to North Korea over the previous 5 years, in response to the South’s Unification Ministry. Reuters

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