North Korea Still Claims It Has Not Had Any COVID-19 Cases

World Health Organization (WHO) said North Korea reported zero COVID-19 infection on Tuesday after more than 56,000 people had undergone tests.

North Korea has claimed it has remained coronavirus-free since the pandemic began as the country continues to implement strict pandemic restrictions that have cut it off from the world for more than two years.

According to WHO’s latest weekly situation report, 56,227 North Koreans have been tested for COVID-19 so far, but none of them tested positive for the virus. 

North Korea has kept its borders closed to fend off the virus since the pandemic broke out and has refused to accept vaccines allocated to the country through the COVAX Facility, a global vaccine distribution platform. 

Earlier Tomas Ojea Quintana, the U.N. special rapporteur for North Korean human rights, called on the international community to provide the North with 60 million doses of COVID-19 to cover at least two shots for the country’s 25 million population.

Doing so is “the key to opening the DPRK’s borders and resuming its interactions with the international community and bringing it out of isolation,” Quintana said in a statement released Thursday.

COVAX had earlier pledged more than eight million vaccines to North Korea but cut that allocation to less than two million after switching to a “needs-based” system this year.

However, Pyongyang has not given any indication if it is prepared to accept vaccine donations and has yet to begin a vaccination campaign for the North Koreans.

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