Kim Jong-un orders coronavirus hospital to be built as ‘180 soldiers die’

Kim Jong-un has built a new hospital amid reports that scores of North Korean soldiers have contracted the coronavirus despite the leader saying the country has no cases.

A source in the North's military said 180 soldiers had already died of the virus, with most deaths happening near the closed border with China, the Daily NK reported.

The dictator ordered the construction of a new hospital in the heart of the capital of North Korea, Pyongyang.

Without any mention of the escalating crisis, the leader said: “When the general hospital is built, we will get another valuable asset with which to better protect the previous health and safety of our people."

The state continues to maintain cases of COVID-19, despite 10s of thousands of cases in neighbouring China and South Korea.

The North Korean leader said he wants the hospital finished by October to mark the 75th anniversary of the founding of the country’s ruling Workers’ Party.

Pyongyang claims it has been able to shield itself from the coronavirus by being proactive in its fight for “national survival”.

General Robert Abrams, a commander of US forces in the region, said it was unlikely that the country remained free of infection.

He said: "It's a closed-off nation, so we can't say emphatically that they have cases, but we're fairly certain they do."

The country has closed its border, cut trade with China, extended its quarantine period to 30 days and put restrictions on the activities of foreign diplomatic and integration staff based in North Korea.

North Korea has boasted that its isolation from the rest of the world is what is saving them.

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