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International Community Raises Concerns Over N. Korea's Lack of Means to Contain Coronavirus

International Community Raises Concerns Over N. Korea's Lack of Means to Contain Coronavirus

Anchor: Despite North Korea making all-out efforts to prevent the new coronavirus from entering its borders, the international community has expressed grave concerns over the lack of necessary equipment and supplies in the communist state to properly contain the virus.
Choi You Sun reports.

Report: The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies(IFRC) stressed the urgent need to send humanitarian aid to North Korea, such as personal protective gear and testing kits, to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus in the reclusive state.

In a written interview with Voice of America(VOA) on Thursday, the IFRC's Asia Pacific Regional Director Xavier Castellanos urged the UN Security Council to grant the IFRC an exemption on North Korea sanctions on humanitarian grounds.

In particular, Castellanos called for an exemption that would allow a bank transfer to the IFRC office in the North, saying it would be essential as a "life-saving intervention" and that there is currently no other available means for humanitarian intervention.

An official from the UN Security Council's North Korea sanctions committee told VOA last week that the committee stands ready to expeditiously consider any request for exemptions related to the prevention and treatment of the coronavirus.

The U.S. Department of State, meanwhile, expressed deep concern over the vulnerability of the North Korean people to an outbreak, reaffirming support for aid agencies seeking to help contain the virus in the communist state.

In a statement on Thursday, department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said the U.S. is ready to expeditiously facilitate the approval of assistance from such organizations.

South Korea, which recognizes the need for inter-Korean cooperation in tackling the virus' outbreak, said it is taking into account situations in both Koreas in regards to the possibility of supporting the North's quarantine efforts.

Deputy Unification Ministry spokesperson Cho Hey-sil said on Friday that no civilian-led proposal for quarantine support has yet been officially submitted.

While North Korea hasn't reported any cases of the new coronavirus, some South Korean outlets with sources inside the country recently reported that the virus has, in fact, entered the country.
Choi You Sun, KBS World Radio News.

[Photo : YONHAP News]

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