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N.K. plane arrives in Vladivostok to transport foreigners amid border closure: sources

All News 15:21 March 09, 2020

VLADIVOSTOK, March 9 (Yonhap) -- A special flight of North Korea's flag carrier Air Koryo arrived in Russia's far eastern city of Vladivostok on Monday, carrying about 100 foreigners from Pyongyang, sources said.

The flight, which touched down at Vladivostok International Airport at around 10:50 a.m., is believed to have transported foreigners, including diplomats, stranded after Pyongyang cut off all international transportation links over coronavirus concerns.

In late January, Pyongyang blocked all its airways and land transportation across its borders with China and Russia over coronavirus fears, rendering foreigners, mostly diplomats, unable to leave the country.

Russian media earlier reported that there would be a special plane to be flown between Pyongyang and Vladivostok last week to evacuate those diplomats, but it was canceled for unknown reasons.

Around 20 countries, including Russia, are currently operating their diplomatic missions in Pyongyang. Foreign media reported that some of the countries are closing or considering downsizing the operations of their missions there over the globally spreading coronavirus.

North Korea has not reported any confirmed coronavirus infections, but worries persist that Pyongyang might be concealing an outbreak and that the deadly virus might be spreading across the country.

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