A North Korean who attempted to defect to China tested positive for COVID-19 and is currently under quarantine at a Chinese hospital, Daily NK has learned. 

According to a Daily NK source in China, the North Korean was shot by a Chinese border guard during the afternoon of Apr. 20 as he attempted to cross the Tumen River in North Hamgyong Province. 

He was transported to a hospital in Longjing, Jilin Province, where he underwent medical tests. The tests came back positive for COVID-19. 

After quarantining the man, the hospital in Longjing has reportedly restricted all entry of visitors into the facility. 

Daily NK was unable to confirm how Chinese authorities will deal with the infection case. 

North Korea continues to deny any COVID-19 infections in the country and has attributed its success to being free from the virus to its “superior” socialist public health system. 

Daily NK has reported on suspected outbreaks in North Korea, including publishing an article in early March that suggested 180 soldiers may have died from “coronavirus-like symptoms” from January to February.

Daily NK reporting has also revealed that, as of late February, 23 people may have died in the country due to the disease. 

*Translated by Violet Kim

Please direct any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.

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Seulkee Jang is one of Daily NK's full-time reporters and covers North Korean economic and diplomatic issues, including workers dispatched abroad. Jang has a M.A. in Sociology from University of North Korean Studies and a B.A. in Sociology from Yonsei University. She can be reached at skjang(at)uni-media.net.