A defector suspected to have fled to North Korea appears not to have contracted the new coronavirus, South Korean health authorities said Monday.
North Korea’s media claimed Sunday that a defector returned home from South Korea with virus symptoms, prompting the country to adopt a “maximum emergency system” against the coronavirus.
“The person is neither registered as a COVID-19 patient nor classified as a person who came in contact with virus patients,” Yoon Tae-ho, a senior health official, said in a press briefing.
Yoon said the KCDC conducted virus tests on two people who had close contact with the defector, and both of them tested negative for the virus.
South Korea’s military said the defector is believed to have swum across the border from the western border island of Gwanghwa after going through a drain under barbed wire fences to evade South Korean border guards.