On Wednesday, reports surfaced that the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, had been ordered to undergo a five-day lockdown, as cases of unspecified respiratory illness were on the rise. It comes at a time of reports earlier this week that North Koreans were seen panic-buying stories after rumors that they might be quarantined.
NK News, a South Korean media organization that tracks North Korea, reported on the lockdown citing a North Korean government notice they saw.
The notice said diseases spreading in the city included the common cold, but made no mention of Covid.
Pyongyang residents have been asked to stay indoors until Sunday, January 29, and the notice also states that they must have their temperatures checked several times a day.
It is not yet known whether other North Korean cities will be locked down.
On Tuesday, reports from NK News said there was a noticeable increase in traffic in Pyongyang as people began to panic buying large quantities of food due to rumors of a lockdown.
It is reported that a familiar incident happened in April 2020, when the North Korean Government began to significantly reduce the amount of imports from China.
However, North Korea only acknowledged the first Covid outbreak in May 2022 and claimed 4.77 million people in the country had fully recovered while 74 died, a mortality rate of 0.002%, making it North Korea has the lowest death toll in the world.
International experts have cast doubt on North Korea’s claims, as South Korea, which has an advanced health care system, has reported a death rate of 0.12% during the pandemic.
However, North Korean state media declared the “victory” of the Covid virus in August 2022.
At the time, state media claimed North Korea had entered a “stable” phase in August and added that the country would begin to “redouble efforts to maintain perfection in execution.” anti-epidemic policies of the state”.
During the 2022 blockade, the North Korean government revealed that people were “evading isolation” to panic buy medicine due to fear of drug shortages and said that people were “rushing to pharmacies”.
North Korean authorities have issued warnings of death and expulsion from Pyongyang to innocent family members for those found to be spreading “rumors” about the Covid-19 outbreak or selling drugs. on the black market.
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It is reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un planned a military parade on February 8 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Korean People’s Army and thousands of people both citizens and soldiers. The staff seems to have been training for the event.
NK News analyzed satellite images showing North Korean soldiers lined up in numbers “75”, “and” at Pyongyang’s Mirim military parade training base.
A civics training event for the event appeared to take place at Kim Il Sung Square on Saturday, as satellite images showed the formation of the numbers “2” and 8, apparently the date of the parade. onion.
The state media has yet to officially announce the event and it is unknown if the latest blockade will affect the parade.
On Monday, North Korean state television also praised the country’s success in its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2022 and said its response was a “miracle on this planet” to a “miracle on this planet”. “unprecedented event” in the history of Korea.