The Red Cross says its consignment of protective equipment has arrived in North Korea to help people protect themselves against Covid-19, after the country announced its first publicly reported suspected coronavirus case last week.
The equipment has gone through quarantine and been released to the Red Cross Society in North Korea, according to a statement from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
"The protective items include infrared thermometers, protective goggles and gowns, facial shields, surgical masks, examination gloves and a diagnostic machine (rt-PCR) as well as testing kits for 10,000 people," the statement said.
"Red Cross teams continue to coordinate with local health care workers and government departments to engage with communities, visiting households who live in remote areas and helping to protect those most at risk of the coronavirus. There has not been any further request for assistance at this stage.”
Some context: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un convened an emergency meeting Saturday after it was reported that a defector who fled the country three years ago had returned to the North Korean city of Kaesong, while possibly infected with coronavirus, according to state-run newswire KCNA.
Authorities in South Korea confirmed Monday that a defector had crossed the highly militarized border into North Korea. The South Korean Health Ministry said the man was not a known coronavirus patient or a close contact of one, but local police said the man was being investigated for a sex crime.
KCNA said the defector had symptoms of Covid-19, but did not confirm if he had been tested. Close contacts of the suspected case were being examined and quarantined, but KCNA warned of a "dangerous situation" developing in Kaesong that could lead to a "deadly and destructive disaster."