A returning defector suspected of being North Korea’s first coronavirus case, triggering the lockdown of the border city of Kaesong, was not infected with Covid-19, South Korea said on Monday. Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, declared a national emergency over the weekend, with state media claiming that a “runaway” who defected to the South three years ago had come back across the border illegally and was showing symptoms of the “vicious virus.”
The South Korean military confirmed on Monday that a 24-year-old man had swum across the border from the western island of Gwanghwa after crawling through a drain under barbed wire fences to avoid tight border controls and surveillance. The man, who has not been named, had been under investigation for the rape of a female North Korean refugee last month.
However, Yoon Tae-ho, a senior health official told South Korean newswire, Yonhap, that “The person is neither registered as a Covid-19 patient, nor classified as a person who came in contact with virus patients.”—Agencies