North Korean Premier Kim Jae Ryong recently visited quarantine headquarters in the country’s southwestern provinces, party daily the Rodong Sinmun said Wednesday, as the country continues to report on ongoing nationwide measures against the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Kim’s public visit is the first by a high-level North Korean official to a quarantine office since Pyongyang declared the threat of coronavirus to be a “national emergency,” and saw the mask-clad premier emphasize the need for the country to “more thoroughly proceed with examination and quarantine work at the border-crossing areas.”
Wednesday’s Rodong reported that Kim had visited quarantine offices in the country’s capital, South Phyongan Province, North Hwanghae Province, and Nampho Emergency Quarantine Command.
In recent weeks, North Korean state media has heavily focused attention on coverage of both global and domestic efforts to prevent the spread of the virus, now officially named COVID-19, though DPRK authorities are yet to officially confirm any in-country cases.
The party daily in late January urged all party organizations to consider the fight against the virus “an important political issue related to national survival.”
The DPRK Premier reiterated this point at his recent inspection, saying that all officials should “be on full alert” against the spread of the virus.
“All officials should bear in mind that work to prevent novel coronavirus infection disease is an important project related to the national security and the people’s life,” he was reported to have said, ordering countermeasures including guaranteeing “conditions for isolation and treatment” of the virus and strengthening work to guarantee medical supplies.
Meanwhile, the ruling party daily also reported on new quarantine measures throughout the country, including at the Import-Export Inspection and Quarantine station in Kangwon Province — a region bordering South Korea.
The facility, the Rodong said, is equipped with protective suits, glasses, and masks, with arriving ships being quarantined before they sail into the harbor. Marine traffic in and around DPRK ports has remained sparse in the past week, according to the NK Pro ship tracker.
State media has also continued to report that the country is providing its citizens and quarantine facilities with domestically-produced, “high-potency” disinfectants.
A “zone-responsibility system” assigning North Korean doctors to regions where their skills are required is also being used, externally-focused outlet the Arirang Meari said, quoting an unnamed Ministry of Public Health official.
North Korea on Wednesday also opted to report Chinese President Xi Jinping’s on-site inspections to virus treatment centers in Beijing earlier in the week, but it remains to be seen if DPRK leader Kim Jong Un will make a similar such visit in the coming days.
Kim has since the beginning of the outbreak avoided appearing in public, with his last public appearance on January 25.
Edited by Oliver Hotham