June 25, 2020 11:04
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un chaired his first virtual meeting on Tuesday, which was a "preliminary" meeting ahead of a Workers Party gathering.
This suggests that the coronavirus epidemic has reached North Korea despite all denials by the regime.
Unification Ministry spokesman Yeo Sang-gi told reporters on Wednesday that the videoconference was "unprecedented."
The videoconference was also the North Korean leader's first public appearance in 16 days.
One source said, "Students have returned to school, while people gathered in large groups for rice planting, which resulted in a resurgence in coronavirus cases there."
North Korean media has shown images of people wearing masks as they gathered for rallies protesting against South Korea.
Kim had apparently spent his time in a villa in remote Kangwon Province since February, seeking to stay away from densely populated infection hotspots like Pyongyang.
One defector who used to be a high-ranking North Korean official said, "Quarantine measures in North Korea are aimed primarily at protecting the health of the leader."
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