Residents of Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, 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.

This text does not mention Covid-19, over which the dictatorship announced its victory in August 2022.

But the North Korean government refers to the common cold as a new disease spreading in the capital.

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.

Citing sources in Pyongyang, NK News said on Tuesday that residents of North Korea's largest city appeared to be stocking up for a possible lockdown.

It is not known if other territories are affected by similar confinements and state media have not announced any new measures.

A link with the Covid epidemic in China?

North Korea has been strictly closing its borders since the start of the pandemic, and announced its very first case of Covid in May 2022, before proclaiming its victory over the disease three months later.

But the country allows itself some exchanges with China, a key trading partner and neighbor, which is facing a wave of infections after it ended its drastic “zero Covid” policy.

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 specialized 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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  • North Korea

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  • Coronavirus

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