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N. Korea set to shut down all int'l routes to and from country: source

All News 19:57 January 30, 2020

SEOUL, Jan. 30 (Yonhap) -- North Korea plans to completely shut down all its transportation routes to the outside world this week in an apparent attempt to prevent an outbreak of the new coronavirus in the impoverished nation, an informed source said Thursday.

The communist state is expected to suspend all international flights, train services and shipping as of Friday.

"North Korea intensified its border control earlier this month, but a few trains and flights from China have still found their way into the country," the source said.

"It appears to have decided to intensify its measures as conditions have worsened," the source added.

Pyongyang reportedly shut down its border with China last Wednesday after some 1,000 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus were reported in China.

More than 7,700 cases have been confirmed in China alone as of Thursday, with 170 deaths so far.

In a related move, the North has also asked to temporarily shut down its joint liaison office with South Korea in its border town of Kaesong.

All 58 South Korean officials stationed there returned home earlier in the day.

South Korea has so far reported six confirmed cases of the viral disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus believed to have originated from China's Wuhan.

North Korea has yet to report any confirmed cases.

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