Aug 09, 2020 16:36 UTC
  •  North Korea sends food, medical supplies to border town under coronavirus lockdown

North Korea's ruling party has delivered food and medical supplies to residents of the border town of Kaesong after imposing a lockdown there due to the coronvirus pandemic.

State television on Sunday showed a train arriving at the Kaesong station and trucks delivering special aid packages of food and medical equipment to residents. 

Separately, hundreds of people wearing masks gathered at a party auditorium there to thank authorities for the aid and basic necessities. The official KCNA news agency said the shipments were meant to help the residents cope with the lockdown, which "may lead to a deadly and destructive disaster."

In recent weeks, Pyongyang has been taking strict quarantine measures and screening the town, while providing food, test kits and other medical equipment.

North Korea had declared a state of emergency after a person suspected of having COVID-19 returned from South Korea by illegally crossing the border last month. The person had defected to South Korea three years ago, and returned across the fortified border that divides the two Koreas with symptoms that suggested COVID-19.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un convened an emergency politburo meeting after the person returned with symptoms of coronavirus infection in July.

Kim declared a state of emergency and imposed a lockdown on the border city of Kaesong, calling it a "critical situation in which the vicious virus could be said to have entered the country."  

North Korea has received thousands of coronavirus testing kits from Russia and other countries, and imposed strict border closures. 

In recent weeks, North Korea has also stepped up a campaign criticizing defectors to South Korea as "human scum" and calling for South Korea to crack down on groups that send propaganda messages and food aid into the North. 

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