UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Pyongyang has taken a wide range of “exceptional” measures to prevent the emerging coronavirus, such as broadcasting hygiene guidelines through loudspeakers, isolating diplomats at their embassies, and instructing the official media to order “absolute obedience.”
Under normal circumstances, the North Korean regime, run by the Kim dynasty with an iron fist for seven decades, imposes very strict control measures on the people. These measures have been strengthened to counter the worrying virus in Northeast Asia and around the world.
The North Korean authorities are quick to close the borders with China and Russia, an isolation strategy that diplomats and experts consider the best to protect a country whose health structures are weak.
Everyone arriving in North Korea has been subjected to isolation for 30 days. Inside, Pyongyang launched a “campaign to fight the virus,” according to the North Korean News Agency, by making home visits to check residents’ health or sending trucks on tour tours to remind loudspeakers of hygiene instructions.
Foreigners are subject to stricter restrictions since all foreign residents have been quarantined in their homes since early February.
Diplomats are no longer entitled to even stroll the streets of the capital, which is described by the Russian ambassador to the country Alexander Matsegora as “psychologically terrible”.
– Our Diary.
Matsegura told the Russian “Tass” news agency that the embassy “is deprived of diplomatic mail (…) We can no longer obtain medicines and other supplies for our first aid center.”
The employees of the Russian embassy are not allowed to leave this compound located in the heart of the capital except for the disposal of waste. “Korean specialists immediately sanitize our truck as soon as it goes past the embassy gate,” Matsegura explained.
It has become impermissible for embassy staff to go to the Orthodox Church in Pyongyang, taekwondo lessons, swimming pool and skating rink, as well as for all other classes of drawing or the Korean language. “Some people may think these are trivialities, but this is what we live on daily,” the ambassador said.
In this context, diplomatic work has become almost halted, according to the ambassador. It is no longer possible to hold any meeting, meeting or negotiations with the North Korean leaders or with other embassies. Communication with the local authorities is now limited to phone calls or official notes placed in a dedicated mailbox.
He considered that no country other than North Korea could take such measures to respond to and implement a “problem on a national scale”, describing the situation as “exceptional.”
“In material terms, self-isolation is of course costing the Korean state a heavy price,” he added.
But he thought that Pyongyang would always be willing to pay this price and said, “It is important | to understand that the security issues of the state, the ideology and the dignity of the country, concepts that we hear about of course in North Korea, always come before economic considerations.”
The ambassador added that this reality should be taken into consideration by those who believe that sanctions will compel Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear program, while international negotiations on this file are stalled.
Beware of all “ego” –
The new Corona virus, which first appeared in China in December, has killed more than 2,700 people. And moved to a large number of countries, including South Korea, which saw a rapid rise in the number of injured.
North Korea continues to confirm that it is the only country in neighboring China that has not spread the virus, which raises suspicions among experts.
For its part, the newspaper “Rodong Sinmun”, a spokeswoman for the ruling Labor Party, urged the population to “absolute obedience” to the health authorities.
“It must be kept in mind that any kind of vanity can have catastrophic and irreversible repercussions, and a very high level of alert must be maintained,” the newspaper wrote.
A few days ago, the newspaper warned that a single hit on North Korean territory could have “catastrophic consequences” and asked residents to double caution and avoid gatherings in public places including restaurants.
“Having dinner together, talking to each other, this could become the main ground for an epidemic,” she said.
It appears that the actions of the state are not subject to these restrictions. On Wednesday, the newspaper published pictures showing a number of members of the Supreme People’s Assembly in the place where the ex-leader Kim Jong Il is supposed to be born. All were wearing masks.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.
Contact us: [email protected]