North Korea insists that COVID-19 has yet to infiltrate the secretive regime — despite a massive testing campaign that included thousands of people experiencing a fever.
The Hermit Kingdom reported that there were no positive cases detected out of 9,373 PCR tests conducted over the course of 10 days, according to the World Health Organization.
The tests included 4,275 people under quarantine with a fever, CNN reported.
The rest were healthcare workers at the quarantine stations or involved in collecting samples, the outlet reported.
The country has maintained that there have been no coronavirus cases since the pandemic began — a claim widely doubted by experts who point out that it shares a border with China, the original source of the outbreak.
Hermit Kingdom insiders have said victims of the deadly disease have been left to starve in secret “quarantine camps” near the Chinese border.
“My sources indicate many in these camps have already died, not only from the pandemic but also from starvation and related causes,” Tim Peters, a Christian activist who runs Seoul-based nonprofit Helping Hands Korea, told the South China Morning Post.
North Korea has also recently ramped up efforts to prevent the spread of the virus, including new rules about venturing out to sea and collecting potentially contaminated materials.
The country also increased its number of guard posts and said it was “building a strong wall of defense at its borders” against the pandemic.