North Korea seeks help for coronavirus testing

North Korea is reportedly seeking international help in its coronavirus testing efforts.

Even though the Hermit Kingdom has reported no official deaths or illnesses, the hard-line community nation, according to the Financial Times, has reached out to its various worldwide contacts for assistance in combating the global pandemic.

The requests have been coming in during the last few weeks.

North Korea is bordered by China, where the Wuhan virus originated, and South Korea, which is among the hardest-hit nations.


North Korean leader Kim Jong-un sealed his nation's borders in January. The U.S. is "fairly certain" there are coronavirus cases in North Korea because of a noticeable lack of military activity, Gen. Robert Abrams, commander of U.S. Forces Korea, told reporters earlier this month, according to Bloomberg.

Also in March, one Korean news agency reported that about 200 North Korean soldiers have died and about 3,700 have been sickened and are under quarantine.

»MORE: Hundreds of North Korean soldiers dead from coronavirus: report

According to reports, the soldiers who had died were mainly stationed around the Sino-North Korean border in North Pyongan, Chagang, Ryanggang and North Hamgyong.

The deaths and illnesses have reportedly caused an uproar in North Korea’s military establishment and have prompted leaders to take several measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

On Thursday, the number of coronavirus infections closed in on a half-million worldwide, with Italy and the U.S. on track to surpass China. Health care systems in Europe and New York buckled under the strain, with Spain’s death toll climbing to more than 4,000.

»MORE: Infections near 500,000 | European health systems buckle

At least 2.8 billion people, or more than one-third of the Earth’s population, are under severe travel restrictions.

But the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, scolded world leaders for wasting precious time in the fight against the virus that has already killed more than 22,000 people and infected more than 480,000, thrown millions out of work and ravaged the world economy.

“The time to act was actually more than a month ago or two months ago,” he said Wednesday. “We squandered the first window of opportunity. ... This is a second opportunity, which we should not squander and do everything to suppress and control this virus.”