March 3 (UPI) -- North Korea has developed a device capable of treating respiratory diseases, state media claimed.
Pyongyang propaganda service So Gwang said Monday the regime is moving forward with research and tests of new kinds medicines and medical devices that could treat illnesses, including the new strain of coronavirus.
According to North Korean state media, the device is a nebulizer superior to imported devices that turns liquid medicine into a fine mist, with "10 times the life span" of nebulizers manufactured overseas.
The new North Korean nebulizer can be filled with ingestible antibiotics that are then inhaled in mist form. State media said the generation of ultrasonic waves through the medicine produces droplets for inhalation.
Pyongyang has reported zero cases of COVID-19, despite the massive outbreak in China, where infections are slowing but the death toll continues to rise.
DPRK Today reported Tuesday protective clothing was being "mass produced" in response to the virus, which, according to authorities, has yet to infect North Koreans. No deaths have been attributed to COVID-19, North Korea has said.
South Korea said Tuesday private organizations plan to send assistance to the North. Non-governmental organizations in the South are to work with international aid groups to bring humanitarian assistance to North Korea. A unification ministry official said there have been no consultations with the North, however, CBS No Cut News reported.
North Korea could be concealing the toll the coronavirus has taken on the population, according to a South Korean press report.
Daily NK reported Monday COVID-19 cases might have emerged in the country. Sources who spoke to the news service said the cases might have occurred at the China-North Korea border, in Sinuiju and the Rason Special Economic Zone.
Pyongyang, the capital, may have also been affected.
On Friday, North Korea urged foreign diplomats to voluntarily evacuate the country via a special one-way flight to Vladivostok, Russia.