According to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), North Korea is taking action to “completely eliminate uncivilized and unhygienic elements that could help make room for the spread of an epidemic” during the winter .
Despite these measures, North Korea maintains that no cases of coronavirus have been reported on its territory, many experts say. The country has closed its borders, expelled diplomats and isolated residents with symptoms, Associated Press reports.
North Korea has reportedly taken extreme measures in response to the pandemic and its effects on the economy. According to the National Intelligence Service, North Korea executed an official for violating import restrictions and a bureau de change for the decline in the value of its currency.
South Korean Ha Tae-keung cited agency reports that the North Korean leader Kim Jong UnKim Jong South Korea: Kim Jong Un executed citizens, closed capitals to stop the spread of COVID-19 Will Biden choose a values-based or transactional foreign policy? Japan’s role could redefine Asia-Pacific relations under Biden and Suga MORE displayed “excessive anger” and took “irrational measures”.
While the highly reclusive nation claims to have no cases, the PA notes that a major epidemic could be devastating for North Korea as its broken healthcare system suffers from a chronic shortage of drugs.
South Korea also announced new measures to tackle the spread of the coronavirus on Sunday, including a ban on year-end celebrations. Wind and vocal lessons, saunas and some cafes would also be subject to new restrictions.