North Korea is telling the world it doesn’t have a single, solitary case of coronavirus. It’d be hilarious if the lie didn’t stand for untold human suffering.
“Not one single person has been infected with the novel coronavirus in our country so far,” Pak Myong Su, a senior health official in North Korea, told AFP.
Right. North Korea’s only major trading partner is next-door China, where the epidemic started and which let the virus spread for weeks without raising any alarms. And its other neighbor, South Korea, has more than 10,000 confirmed cases.
Said Gen. Robert Abrams, commander of US forces in South Korea, “I can tell you that is an impossible claim based on all of the intel we have seen.”
Fine, the bizarro regime in Pyongyang eventually closed its borders and set up inspections and other precautions — but for all that it loves to pretend to supercompetence, the only thing it actually excels at is telling bald-faced lies.
North Korea never even ’fesses up about its periodic famines — even when it’s accepting massive emergency food aid. And it has reportedly asked for help fighting the virus now: Back in February, Russia said it sent 1,500 coronavirus diagnostic kits, at North Korea’s request, “due to the persisting risk of the new COVID-19.” Doctors Without Borders and UNICEF have both sent other supplies.
Most likely, the bug is spreading almost unchecked in a nation where routine malnutrition has left much of the populace immune-challenged and a beyond-rickety health-care system is collapsing.
Someday, when the people of North Korea are finally freed of the monsters who rule them, maybe the world will be able to distinguish the coronavirus mass graves from all the other evidence of routine atrocities.