North Korea: Pyongyang confined due to “respiratory disease”

“A respiratory disease”. This is how North Korea justified five-day lockdown in its capital Pyongyang, reported a South Korean specialized site.

The measure appears to be the first citywide measure taken since the country declared its “victory” over Covid-19 in August 2022.

Residents of Pyongyang have been ordered to stay at home from Wednesday to Sunday and must submit to multiple temperature readings each day, Seoul-based NK News reported, citing a government document.

Siberian cold

This text does not mention the Covid-19 but affirms that the cold is among the new diseases which are currently spreading in the capital.

Citing sources in Pyongyang, NK News said on Tuesday that residents of North Korea’s largest city seemed to be stocking up in anticipation of a possible confinement.

It is not known if other territories are affected by similar confinements and state media have not announced any new measures. The Korean Peninsula is currently in the throes of what meteorologists describe as a Siberian cold snap, with temperatures in Pyongyang dropping as low as -22C.

China, trading partner and neighbor

China, a key trading partner and neighbor of North Korea, is facing a wave of infections after it ended its drastic ‘zero Covid’ policy.

North Korea scompelled to strictly close its borders since the start of the pandemic, but allows certain exchanges with China.

Pyongyang announced its very first Covid case in May 2022, before declaring victory over the disease three months later.

Worst healthcare system in the world

The World Health Organization has long cast doubt on Pyongyang’s Covid statistics and the country’s claims that the outbreak is under control.

North Korea has one of the worst health systems in the world, according to experts, with poorly equipped hospitals, few intensive care units and no treatment for Covid-19.

According to expert sources, Pyongyang has not vaccinated its approximately 25 million inhabitants. Other information indicates that the country would have received vaccines from China.

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