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UNICEF: $840,000 needed for North Korea COVID-19 response

North Korea has declared a state of emergency in response to the outbreak of the new strain of coronavirus. Pyongyang has confirmed zero cases. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI
North Korea has declared a state of emergency in response to the outbreak of the new strain of coronavirus. Pyongyang has confirmed "zero" cases. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

March 16 (UPI) -- The United Nations Children's Fund said $840,000 is needed to assist North Korea during the coronavirus pandemic.

In its new report on COVID-19, UNICEF said globally the agency seeks $42.3 million in funding, including $27.02 million for East Asia and the Pacific, Yonhap reported Tuesday.

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China would need the greatest support, or about $7.1 million, followed by Indonesia at $4 million, and Cambodia at $1.3 million. North Korea placed fourth in terms of funding need. So far, UNICEF has managed to secure about $5.48 million for the Asia Pacific, the agency said.

Last week, UNICEF told Voice of America antiviral equipment, including safety glasses, masks, gloves and thermometers that could be used in North Korea to fight COVID-19 had arrived at the Chinese border city of Dandong. The two countries share an 880-mile border.

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North Korea has claimed there are "zero" cases of COVID-19 in the country, raising international skepticism.

The Kim Jong Un regime maintains a strict quarantine policy. All citizens who have been exposed to either foreign nationals or North Koreans returning from overseas are required to stay in isolation for a period of 40 days, regardless of their condition.

On Monday, So Gwang issued a report that included interviews with North Korean parents with kindergarten-age children. The article claimed the children are "hassling" their parents and grandparents as residents are required to stay in their homes amid what could be nationwide school cancellations and shelter-in-place orders.

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North Korea is also promoting national construction projects amid the pandemic.

State propaganda service DPRK Today said Tuesday construction continues in the Wonsan Kalma Coastal Tourist Zone. Soldiers are in charge of laying the tiles and bricks, the report said.

In 2018, Kim had said he expected the tourist resort to be completed by October 2019. The project may have been partly finished last year.

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