Russia is ready to help North Korea in tackling a novel coronavirus outbreak if necessary, including by supplying vaccines and medical equipment, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters on Wednesday.
"During our embassy’s contacts with representatives of the North Korean leadership, we said on many occasions that we are ready to render the required assistance if necessary. Certainly, this applies to vaccines and medical equipment, should the need arise. Our humanitarian assistance in other forms is regularly delivered to our North Korean neighbors," TASS quoted him as saying.
"Our embassy regularly reports, how the situation is developing. We mean full information," Lavrov added.
Lavrov also noted that Russia has registered no incidents indicating an outbreak of the novel coronavirus infection in North Korea. "From the very start of the coronavirus pandemic, the North Korean authorities took probably the harshest measures to isolate the country, and prevent the infection from finding the way inside. It is practically a total lockdown, which remains in place to date," Lavrov said. "We have not registered any incidents indicating a novel coronavirus outbreak inside North Korea," he noted.
According to the World Health Organization, North Korea has neither registered COVID-19 cases nor deaths from this infection since the start of the pandemic. Yonhap news agency reported citing the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un announced at the session of the political bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea on June 29 about a serious incident in the healthcare sector, which could trigger a major crisis in ensuring security of the republic and its citizens.
The news agency gave no particular details about this "serious incident". Until recently, North Korea’s authorities claimed that the country had not registered any COVID-19 case. Shortly after the start of the pandemic, North Korea fully closed its borders and imposed strict sanitary measures.