North Korea is now claiming that it has no cases of COVID-19, Fox News reports.
The country's leader Kim Jong-un says that conducting a nationwide 30-day quarantine, having a closed border and suspending trade with China has ensured North Korea is kept free of coronavirus.Related - Arnold Schwarzenegger urges people to self-isolate and to practice social distancing amid the coronavirus outbreak:
Per The Diplomat, it said: "Officials of the Party and power organs and working people's organisations and those in the fields of public health and anti-epidemic control across the country have boosted the hygienic information service about the worldwide spread of COVID-19 and preventive and treatment measures among the people, so that they should never feel relieved for having no COVID-19 case in the DPRK."
Global experts, however, have cast doubt on the claims, with some even saying that it is "impossible".
"It's impossible for North Korea not to have a single case of coronavirus," Jung H. Pak, a former CIA analyst on North Korea, told Fox News. Pak believes these "impossible" claims stem from a desire by North Korea, given its isolation from the rest of the world, to be seen as superior.
General Robert Abrams, commander of U.S. Forces Korea agrees, telling the publication: "It is a closed-off nation, so we can't say emphatically that they have cases, but we're fairly certain they do."
He added: "What I do know is that their armed forces had been fundamentally in a lockdown for about 30 days and only recently have they started routine training again. As one example, they didn't fly an airplane for 24 days."
Per Fox News, sources to South Korean media have allegedly reported cases of coronavirus in North Korea, including fatalities from the disease, despite its leader's claims. Also, in spite of the country's closed border, black market traders in the country could have passed the contagious disease on to North Korean citizens.
South Korea, on the other hand, has been praised for enacting a very efficient screening process in the wake of the outbreak, managing to stabilize the spread of the disease after it reached over 8,300 cases.
Meanwhile, China, North Korea's neighbor on its northern border has fared the worst out of all countries, having to contend with more than 3,200 deaths from the deadly disease at the time of writing.