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Coronavirus

North Korea offers flight for diplomats as embassies close

Air Koryo plane will leave for Vladivostok on Friday

An Air Koryo logo is displayed on a plane at an airport in Pyongyang, North Korea. The carrier will ship diplomats who wish to return home out of the country on Friday.   © Reuters

BEIJING (Kyodo) --  Air Koryo, North Korea's state-run carrier, will provide a special flight later this week from Pyongyang to Russia's Vladivostok for diplomats and international organization staff who want to return home, a diplomatic source said Monday.

The special flight from North Korea's capital to Russia's far eastern city is scheduled to be operated on Friday, the source in Beijing added, as the country has been stepping up efforts to prevent an influx of the new pneumonia-causing coronavirus raging in China.

In the wake of an outbreak of the new virus, North Korea has cut off traffic to and from China and Russia since earlier this year. Pyongyang has claimed it has seen no infections with the virus, but it has quarantined foreigners across the nation.

Germany, France and Switzerland have decided to temporarily close their embassies in Pyongyang as they have been struggling to procure commodities.

Other countries, meanwhile, have significantly downsized operations at their embassies in North Korea, sources familiar with the situation in the capital said.

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