13 May 2022 09:32

Russia to help N. Korea counter Covid-19 if such request arrives from Pyongyang - Russian embassy

MOSCOW. May 13 (Interfax) - Russia stands ready to extend assistance to North Korea, which has recently reported its first cases of Covid-19, if such a request is received, the Russian embassy in Pyongyang told Interfax.

"As far as we know, the Korean side has not appealed to Russia for assistance. However, if a request to this effect is received, all necessary assistance will be provided to the friendly neighbor," the embassy said.

"The situation in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea [DPRK] remains calm and is under the authorities' full control," it said.

North Korea confirmed its first cases of Covid-19, namely of the Omicron variant, on Thursday. As reported, the North Korean authorities have concluded that the samples taken from patients with fever in Pyongyang on May 8 were identical to Omicron.

Prior to that, throughout the pandemic, North Korea had reported the absence of coronavirus cases in its territory.

After the patients' diagnosis was confirmed, the North Korean authorities announced "maximum emergency" anti-epidemic measures. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un chaired a politburo meeting, ordering tighter border control after the Covid-19 cases were identified in North Korea. He pledged that the "unexpected crisis" will be resolved.

North Korea's borders have been fully closed to foreigners and the country's citizens since late January 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.