PYONGYANG (WLNS) – North Korean authorities imposed a lockdown on the border city of Kaesong after discovering what they say is the country’s first suspected coronavirus case, according to reports from Al Jazeera.

If confirmed, it would be the first officially recognized case of COVID-19 in North Korea.

Leader Kim Jong Un convened an emergency politburo meeting to implement a “maximum emergency system and issue a top-class alert” to contain the virus, the official Korean Central News Agency reported on Sunday.

Kim was quoted as saying “the vicious virus could be said to have entered the country”, and officials took the “pre-emptive measure of totally blocking Kaesong city”.

Kaesong, a city with an estimated population of 200,000, is located just north of the heavily fortified land border with South Korea.

Pyongyang previously insisted that not a single case of the coronavirus had been seen in the North despite the pandemic sweeping the globe, and the country’s borders remain closed.

North Korea closed its borders in late January as the virus spread in neighboring China.