North Koreans “forbidden” from dining out while coronavirus threat persists
North Koreans are “strictly forbidden” from gathering in public places such as restaurants, ruling party daily the Rodong Sinmun said on Tuesday, as the country continues now weeks-long quarantine efforts to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
In a report that comes amid mounting claims that there may be suspected or confirmed cases of the coronavirus — known officially as COVID-19 — DPRK state media on Tuesday continued to insist there have been no confirmed cases, reiterating propaganda on quarantine measures conducted throughout the country.
“At a time like this… a national emergency quarantine system when the whole nation is in constant tension to prevent the spread of the contagious disease, actions such as gathering at public places such as restaurants should be strictly forbidden,” the Rodong article said Tuesday.
“However, among some citizens, tendencies arise in which some people, who lack awareness, think of sitting together with a big crowd at restaurants as not a big deal. People… eating together and having conversations sitting closely itself can become the main contagion venue for infectious diseases.”
Eating at restaurants together, “which disturbs the [government’s] hygiene and quarantine work,” should be avoided, it said, “in order to evade the catastrophe of this virus getting out of the control of the quarantine network.”
Meanwhile, North Korea’s state media on Tuesday said that many ministries and units across the country are continuing quarantine efforts, developing medication for respiratory health, while sharing information on using masks hygienically.
Referencing the country’s Ministry of Machine-building Industry, the Rodong said that the ministry officials are all required to wear masks during their commute and that their doorknobs are disinfected “more than three times per day.”
The staff’s temperatures are checked twice a day, it said, adding that they are required to wash their hands “whenever they have used computer keyboards.”
Another Rodong article noted that masks should not be reused “when they are transformed, destroyed, or smell weird,” adding that fabric-type masks can be washed or sterilized before reusing.
Since North Korean state media started its now weeks-long propaganda campaign showing its citizens wearing personal protective equipment, multiple North Koreans have been spotted in pictures wearing what look like masks made from fabric, hinting that surgical or medical masks may not be widely available or preferred in the North.
North Korea has been quick in reporting on the surging number of confirmed cases in neighboring South Korea, with the Rodong reporting on Tuesday about how eight South Koreans died infected from the novel coronavirus, with a total of 833 confirmed cases as of Monday afternoon.
While swiftly reporting on COVID-19 updates around the world — and insisting that the country is yet to see any confirmed cases inside the border, state media in recent days has also been using the occasion to promote their domestically-produced medicines.
“Officials and workers of Huichon Koryo Medicine Factory incessantly produced potions, plowing through the snow climbing up and down the mountains to find materials needed for producing Koryo medicine,” said the party daily on Tuesday.
“Upholding the party’s policy on preventive medicine, the Ministry of Public health… is striving to produce potions that can promptly cure respiratory diseases,” it explained.
“There has been no case of infection in our country so far,” but “even one infected patient can cause disastrous consequences if we loosen our tension for a second,” the party daily said on Tuesday.
Guarding the country against the novel coronavirus is “sacred” work safeguarding the “security of the country,” it said.
“It is immensely significant… work for securing victory in today’s ‘frontal breakthrough’ battle — the battle to break through head-on all the barriers impeding our advance.”
Edited by James Fretwell
North Koreans are "strictly forbidden" from gathering in public places such as restaurants, ruling party daily the Rodong Sinmun said on Tuesday, as the country continues now weeks-long quarantine efforts to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
In a report that comes amid mounting claims that there may be suspected or confirmed cases of the coronavirus -- known officially as COVID-19 -- DPRK state media on Tuesday continued to insist there have been no confirmed cases, reiterating propaganda on quarantine measures conducted throughout the country.