North Korea has decided to sever almost all of its ties with the outside world in 2020 to avoid an influx of coronavirus cases. The country has not reported a major Covid-19 outbreak and there is no indication that such an outbreak has taken place, although experts doubt Pyongyang’s claim that the country has not seen a only case of virus.
Foreign diplomats and aid workers have also fled the country in droves in recent months, citing shortages of goods and extreme restrictions on daily life, according to the Russian embassy in Pyongyang.
According to a report published on Tuesday on DPRK Sports, a state-owned sports media outlet, North Korean officials announced that the country would not participate in this summer’s Games in order to “protect players from the global health crisis. public caused by Covid-19. “
The decision was taken by the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) Olympic Committee, which held a video conference with committee members and sports officials on March 25 in Pyongyang, DPRK Sports reported.
It is the first time that North Korea has missed the Olympics since it boycotted the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles and the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. In 2018, the leaders of two Koreas agreed to continue co-hosting the Olympic Games in 2032, but inter-Korean discussion on the issue ceased in 2019.
The Games’ first event, the Olympic Torch Relay, was officially launched on March 25. The Olympic flame is now en route across the country, carried by 10,000 runners through 47 prefectures on a 121-day trip from Fukushima to Tokyo.
But resuming the Games has been a controversial choice, with growing logistical challenges and concerns about the pandemic. Japanese officials have expressed concern over a possible “fourth wave” of the pandemic and the city of Osaka has canceled its Olympic torch relay events citing an increase in cases.