North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has ordered more support for the people of the border town of Kaesong, where a lockdown has been declared due to concerns about the coronavirus.
He has released “food and money” to “stabilize the lives of residents,” according to state media.
It is unclear exactly how critical the situation is in the city of approximately 300,000 inhabitants near the border with South Korea.
North Korea announced late last month that emergency measures had been taken there because a man with symptoms of the coronavirus had crossed the border from the neighbouring country.
Isolated North Korea has long maintained that no cases of the coronavirus have been reported. It is unclear whether the man who crossed the border from South Korea has actually spread the virus. South Korea says there is no evidence that he was infected.
Some analysts believe the virus was already circulating in North Korea. That would seize the arrival of the man to blame South Korea for the outbreak.
He had previously defected south from North Korea, according to some reports, but returned after being accused of rape there.