North Korea again claims no coronavirus infections

May 11, 2021
In this Saturday, April 24, 2021, photo, a clothing shop clerk wearing a protective mask waits for customers at the Ramadan bazaar in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced Monday that the whole country will be placed under a near lockdown for about a month but all economic sectors will be allowed to operate. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea has told the World Health Organization that it has tested 25,986 people for the coronavirus through April but still has yet to find a single infection.

The WHO said in a weekly monitoring report that North Korea’s testing figures include 751 people who were tested during April 23-29, of which 139 had influenza-like illnesses or severe respiratory infections.

Experts have expressed skepticism about North Korea’s claim of a perfect record in keeping out COVID-19, given its poor health infrastructure and a porous border it shares with China.

North Korea has described its anti-virus efforts as a “matter of national existence.” It has barred tourists, flown out diplomats and severely restricted cross-border traffic and trade.

The North has stopped providing the number of people it quarantines this year, but previously said it had quarantined tens of thousands who had exhibited symptoms.

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