North Korea acknowledged for the first time Wednesday that swine flu has hit the nation, a day after South Korea's president offered to help the impoverished neighbor fight the virus reported to have already killed dozens.
The North's Ministry of Public Health confirmed nine cases of swine flu in the border city of Sinuiju, near China, and in the capital, Pyongyang, according to the official Korean Central News Agency. KCNA, however, made no mention of any deaths.
The relevant agency is "further perfecting the quarantine system against the spread of this flu virus" while properly carrying out the prevention and medical treatment, KCNA said.
It is the first time that the reclusive North has confirmed a swine flu outbreak in the country. The regime has remained silent despite reports that the virus already has killed more than 40 people in Sinuiju and Pyongyang and was spreading fast.