North Korea was so concerned about the spread of COVID-19 from China that it laid landmines along the border between the two countries.
Intelligence Committee of the South Korean National Assembly said they were told that North Korean leaders feared the virus would devastate the reclusive country. North Korea lacks infrastructure and medical facilities to deal with a widespread outbreak.
The landmines presumably were intended to stop anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 from crossing into North Korea.
“Since there is no physical or technical means to deal with the coronavirus, there is something like coronavirus trauma in North Korea,” Rep. Ha Tae-keung of the main opposition People Power Party quoted the NIS as saying.
A document from a meeting of the North’s ruling Workers’ Party on February 27 warned that up to 500,000 people could die if the virus spreads in the country, according to the NIS.
Pyongyang also has instituted a policy that any public official who fails to contain the virus could be sentenced to death, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported.
“There are cases where critical patients were transported by rail wagons because there is a risk of transmission if they are transported by train,” he added.
The NIS also reported the North is not receiving any supplies from the outside, including from South Korea, due to coronavirus fears.
“Officials who brought in goods via a customs office in August were punished on a large scale,” Ha said.