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FAO official casts doubt on N.K's claim of no coronavirus outbreak: VOA

All News 11:22 February 13, 2020

SEOUL, Feb. 13 (Yonhap) -- A Food and Agriculture Organization official stationed in Pyongyang has voiced doubt over North Korea's claim that there are no cases of coronavirus in the communist nation, according to a news report.

Bir Mandal, deputy representative of the FAO Office in Pyongyang, made the remark, but did not give any specific evidence backing up his doubts, the Voice of America reported in a Korean-language story Wednesday.

Mandal said international agencies have faced difficulty in carrying out projects in North Korea due to the border controls, saying that an officer at the World Health Organization's Pyongyang office who had visited Thailand via China has been unable to go back to the country.

Pyongyang has not reported any confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus but it has intensified its preventive efforts, including tightening its borders with China and strengthening quarantine for people arriving from the neighboring country.

In the latest precautionary move, state media on Wednesday reported that the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly (SPA) adopted an emergency measure to lengthen the quarantine period from 15 days to 30 days, much longer than the 14 days presumed to be the incubation period of the virus.

julesyi@yna.co.kr
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