Covid patients in North Korea are being placed in ‘quarantine camps’ and left to starve to death, an activist has claimed.
Further reports suggest people with symptoms of the virus are ‘being boarded up in their homes without food’ and that the authorities have incinerated scores of the bodies of Covid victims.
Tim Peters, a Christian activist who runs Seoul-based charity Helping Hands Korea, said sources in North Korea claim coronavirus ‘quarantine camps’ have been set up in cities near the Chinese border.
But those incarcerated in the camps are often left without medical care and starvation is rife, he said.
Tim Peters, a Christian activist, claimed coronavirus ‘quarantine camps’ have been set up in cities near the Chinese border. Above, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un smiles during a ceremony to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the country’s ruling party in Pyongyang on October 10
He told The South China Morning Post: ‘One of the more alarming pieces of information that has come our way is that the DPRK government is providing absolutely minimal or no food or medicine to those who are interred there.
‘It’s up to the families of the quarantined citizens to come to the edge of the camps and bring food to keep quarantined relatives alive along with whatever health-related aids that they can muster, whether it be purchased medicines sold in the jangmadang markets, or even herbal home remedies gathered from mountainsides.
‘My sources indicate many in these camps have already died, not only from the pandemic but also from starvation and related causes.’
Peters, whose NGO delivers medical and other supplies to North Korea, described the Covid situation in the country as ‘gravely serious’.
He said the reported neglect matched information emerging from survivors of North Korea’s prison camps where inmates are provided with ‘an absolutely minimum amount of food’.
Refugees who have fled North Korea but kept in contact with relatives still in the country have reported cases of people with symptoms ‘being forced into isolation, or being boarded up in their homes without food or other support and left to die’, according to pastor David Lee.
Lee, who works with North Korean defectors in Seoul, said coronavirus is called the ‘ghost disease’ by North Koreans and there are no ‘proper testing kits’ to track or stop the spread of the virus.
Pastor David Lee claimed people with symptoms are ‘being forced into isolation, or being boarded up in their homes without food or other support and left to die’. Above, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves during the military ceremony in Pyongyang on October 10
Another South Korea-based human rights activist, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The South China Morning Post that authorities had incinerated scores of bodies.
It comes after a suspected case of coronavirus involving a cross-border trader.
The activist said: ‘The central inspection authorities came from Pyongyang and burned all the bodies. The residents are very anxious.’
The shocking claims come as the Kim Jung Un said the country was ‘coronavirus free’ during a speech at a military parade commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Democratic Workers’ Party of Korea.
The North Korean leader blamed international sanctions, typhoons, and the coronavirus for preventing him from delivering on promises of economic progress.
He said he was grateful that not a single North Korean had tested positive for the disease, an assertion that South Korea and the United States have previously questioned.