North Korea sees ‘first suspected COVID-19 case’


North Korean leader Kim Jong-un placed Kaesong city near the border with South Korea under total lockdown after a person was found with suspected COVID-19 symptoms, saying “the vicious virus” may have entered the country, state media reported Sunday.

If the person is officially declared a coronavirus patient, he or she would be North Korea’s first confirmed case. The North has steadfastly said it has had no cases of the virus, a claim questioned by outside experts. Kim had even hailed the country’s ‘shining success in handling COVID-19, by keeping it at bay, on July 3.

“We have thoroughly prevented the inroad of the malignant virus and maintained a stable anti-epidemic situation despite the worldwide health crisis, which is a shining success achieved,” Kim had said in a statement carried by Korean Central News Agency said.

The lockdown was declared on Friday afternoon. The KCNA said the suspected virus patient is a runaway who fled to South Korea three years ago before illegally crossing the border into the North early last week.

KCNA said respiratory secretion and blood tests showed the person “is suspected to have been infected” with the coronavirus. It said the person was placed under quarantine. People who had been in contact with the suspected patient and those who had been to Kaesong in the past five days were also quarantined.

Hurricane becomes threat to Texas hot spots

South Texas braced for flooding on Sunday after Hanna roared ashore as a hurricane the day before, bringing winds that lashed it with rain and storm surge to a part of the country trying to cope with a spike in COVID-19 cases. It made landfall twice on Saturday afternoon within the span of little over an hour. Many parts of Texas have been dealing with a surge in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, but local officials said they were prepared. Chris Birchfield, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Brownsville, said “We’re expecting catastrophic flooding.”

€1,000 fine for not wearing mask in Italy

Failure to wear a mask inside stores in the city of Salerno has proven costly. Three people in the port city in the Campania region received €1,000 ($1,150) fines on Saturday. Campania Governor Vincenzo De Luca signed an ordinance on Friday establishing fines up to €1,000 for not wearing masks in closed public places.

Victoria state sees record new deaths

Australia’s Victoria state has recorded 10 deaths overnight from COVID-19, its highest daily toll amid a continuing surge in novel coronavirus cases. There are 459 new infections, the 21st straight day of triple-figure increases. The fatalities bring Victoria’s toll to 71 and Australia’s national tally to 155. A total of 228 people are hospitalised in Victoria.

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