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S. Korea to consider support for N. Korea's anti-virus fight if int'l agencies make requests

All Headlines 13:49 February 19, 2020

SEOUL, Feb. 19 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will consider international agencies' requests for assistance in efforts to help North Korea with coronavirus quarantine measures if official requests come from aid groups, the unification ministry said Wednesday.

North Korea has repeatedly claimed there hasn't been an outbreak of the COVID-19 infection on its soil but reportedly asked for outside help in its nationwide preventive efforts against the highly contagious virus.

"If there is an official request, the government will look into it," Yoh Sang-key, the ministry's spokesperson, told a regular press briefing in response to a question whether the government is willing to provide anti-virus aid to the North via international agencies.

South Korea wants to cooperate with the North against the new coronavirus, but Pyongyang has not responded to Seoul's offers for cross-border cooperation amid stalled denuclearization talks with Washington.

Despite its repeated claims of no outbreak, the North is considered highly vulnerable to the virus as it reportedly lacks key medical supplies to test and treat infected people.

The World Health Organization's office in Pyongyang earlier said it is providing support to the North, such as test kits, masks and other protective gear, at the request of its health ministry.

S. Korea to consider support for N. Korea's anti-virus fight if int'l agencies make requests - 1

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