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Foreigners leaving Pyongyang as North Korea extends coronavirus quarantine

Only a few people will stay in order to maintain a minimal level of activity, according to the source

PYONGYANG, March 2. /TASS/. About 100 foreign nationals plan to leave Pyongyang on an Air Koryo flight to Russia’s Far Eastern city of Vladivostok, a European diplomatic source in the North Korean capital told TASS on Monday.

"The embassies of Germany, France, Switzerland and Indonesia plan to suspend their operations for the quarantine period and evacuate their personnel from Pyongyang," the source said, adding that the staff members of the Bulgarian, Polish and Romanian embassies planned to send their wives and children - about 100 people - to Vladivostok on a special flight.

According to the source, most staff members of international organizations working in North Korea will also leave the country on the flight because "the activities of humanitarian missions will remain suspended in the coming months due to the quarantine, so only a few people will stay in order to maintain a minimal level of activity."

The special flight will depart from Pyongyang at 08:30 on March 6.

The coronavirus quarantine in North Korea has been extended indefinitely. In addition, the country’s authorities banned foreigners from leaving Pyongyang's diplomatic quarter. North Korea earlier suspended flights and trains to and from China and Russia.

Coronavirus outbreak

In late December 2019, Chinese authorities notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, central China. Coronavirus cases have also been reported in 66 countries, including Russia.

According to Chinese authorities, about 80,000 people have been infected with the virus in the country. The death toll has passed 2,900, while over 44,400 patients have recovered.

The WHO declared the outbreak of the novel coronavirus a global health emergency and named the virus COVID-19.