September 29, 2020 14:06
The North Korean regime has stripped a star off Jong Kyong-thaek, the minister of state security, for quarantine failures amid the coronavirus epidemic.
"He was called to account for a failed crackdown on illegal border crossings into North Korea amid the border lockdown" and demoted from a four-star to three-star general, a source said Monday.
Jong had only been promoted to four stars on July 27. But he appeared at a meeting on Sept. 8 with only the insignia of a three-star general on his shoulders.
Back in July, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un received a report about a former defector who was suspected of being infected with COVID-19 after he returned to the North overland. Kim called an urgent meeting of the Politburo and ordered officials to call those involved to account.
"Jong was also blamed for several illegal border crossings on the North Korea-China border," the source added.
Meanwhile, a North Korean defector claims that as many as 20,000 people were in quarantine with suspected coronavirus as of May.
"The North Korean regime made efforts on several occasions to fight COVID-19, but it seems that the only thing it can do now due to a shortage of quarantine resources is enforce lockdown," the defector said in a recent think-tank report.
He added a full country-wide lockdown looms at the end of this year to keep the virus from spreading.
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