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North Korea Locks Down Pyongyang for Five Days Over Unspecified ‘Respiratory Illness’

North Korea Locks Down Pyongyang for Five Days Over Unspecified ‘Respiratory Illness’

Experts believe it is simply another cycle of covid.

The last time we checked on North Korea, it was swarming military jets in numbers significant enough to cause concern in South Korea and lobbing missiles close enough to Japan to trigger warning sirens.

Now the nation’s capital is shut down due to an unspecified respiratory illness.

Authorities in the North Korean capital Pyongyang have ordered a five-day lockdown due to rising cases of an unspecified respiratory illness, the Russian embassy and Seoul-based NK News reported on Wednesday, citing a government notice.

The notice, shared by the embassy on its Facebook page, said that a “a special anti-epidemic period has been established” and it called on foreign delegations to keep employees inside. The order also called for individuals to measure their temperatures four times a day and report the results to a hospital by phone.

The notice made no mention of COVID-19 though cited an “increase in winter cases of recurrent flu and other respiratory diseases”.

Is it covid, or is it another illness? It is difficult to discern, given the limited information from North Korea…and the fact it does not conduct widespread testing.

On Tuesday, the website reported that Pyongyang residents appeared to be stocking up on goods in anticipation of stricter measures. It was unclear if other areas of the country had imposed new lockdowns.

North Korea acknowledged its first COVID-19 outbreak last year, but by August had declared victory over the virus.

It never confirmed how many people caught COVID, apparently because it lacks the means to conduct widespread testing.

Instead, Pyongyang reported daily numbers of patients with fever, a tally that rose to some 4.77 million, out of a population of about 25 million. But it has not reported such cases since July 29.

However, experts believe it is simply another cycle of covid.

“COVID is disappearing and reappearing depending on the temperature, not just in North Korea but around the world,” said Go Myong-hyun, a researcher at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies.

The Korean peninsula is currently in the grip of what weather forecasters have described as a Siberian cold snap, with temperatures in Pyongyang dropping as low as -22 degrees Celsius (-7.6 Fahrenheit).

“It was quite premature for North Korea to celebrate its victory over the virus… with the drop in temperature, COVID has re-emerged,” Go told AFP. “North Korea must have prepared for it to some extent, but it seems that the virus reappeared a little sooner than they thought.”

Hopefully, the weather and the infections will limit the missile-lobbying antics.

However, if it is covid, no amount of locking down will make it disappear. It is here to stay.


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Hopefully it’s not the bird flu

Bird Flu, Bird Flu, Bird Flu !!!

Otto Kringelein | January 27, 2023 at 12:04 pm

Chinese Bird Flu! The CCP has to test it somewhere. And I guess the NORKS got the short straw.

Awaiting its spread across the world in 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . .

They aren’t perpetually locked down?