SEOUL, March 17 (Yonhap) -- The U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF) has said it needs about US$840,000 to help North Korea cope with the new coronavirus, though the communist nation has not reported any outbreak of the virus yet.
In a novel coronavirus situation report, the agency said it has launched the global "Humanitarian Appeal for Children (HAC) seeking funding of $42.3 million, including $27.02 million for East Asia and Pacific regional response.
Of the East Asia and Pacific budget, $840,312 was allocated to North Korea, according to the report released Friday. Of the funding requirement for the North, only $300,000, or 36 percent has been funded, the report said.
The report said the funding will be used to help the region tackle the COVID-19 virus situation, such as sending critical medical supplies, but it did not note any response plans specific to North Korea.
North Korea has not reported any case of COVID-19 virus infection, but it has called for nationwide efforts to prevent the virus from breaking out on its soil through intensified border controls and a tightened quarantine process.
Concerns are lingering that North Korea could be more vulnerable as it shares a long and porous border with China, and lacks key medical supplies and the infrastructure to test and treat infected people.
Talks for end-of-war declaration gather pace, but skepticism lingers
N. Korea's SLBM drive aimed at regime survival, military edge, negotiation leverage: analysts
N. Korea's suspension from Olympics augurs ill for Seoul's peace efforts
IOC suspension of N. Korea latest wrinkle in inter-Korean sports cooperation
Hotline restoration raises hopes for inter-Korean summit, resumption of nuclear talks