North Korean authorities recently published a new e-book answering commonly-asked questions on COVID-19, the country’s ruling party daily said on Tuesday, including how citizens can prevent infection and self-diagnose if they believe they may have picked up the novel coronavirus.
The e-book, titled “Collection of Q&A on common sense knowledge regarding the novel coronavirus infection,” was written by researchers and teachers of the Pyongyang Medical University and produced by the Agency of People’s Health, according to an article carried by the Rodong Sinmun.
“This electronic document consists of five sections: basics, diagnosis, symptoms, prevention, and cure,” it said, adding that the e-book offers “easy and clear solutions that anyone can easily understand regarding… questions that people want to know most about and are interested in” regarding the pandemic.
The first section, which is on basic information about the novel coronavirus, informs the reader of the features of the virus and its differences between the SARS and MERS viruses, the Rodong said, adding that it also detailed information on the strength and routes of COVID-19 transmission.
According to the article, the e-book also discusses how long the life expectancy and “incubation period” of the novel coronavirus is — and if one can be infected during that period.
But while the North continues to claim there have been no confirmed cases inside its territory, the e-book also includes a section on diagnosis, the party daily said.
That section reportedly explains how to “diagnose pneumonia caused by novel coronavirus infection,” what to do if you think you may be infected, and why medical observation must be undertaken for 40 days.
The e-book also details COVID-19 symptoms, listing its differences with the symptoms of other diseases such as the flu and cold — while informing readers of “common sense” steps that can prevent coronavirus infection, it said.
Also included were details on who is more prone to such infection and what type of anti-viral medicines are used as the cures.
“The electronic document, loaded with abundant common knowledge regarding the novel coronavirus infection, will help the people have an accurate understanding of the infectious disease and to follow the emergency quarantine system,” it said.
The party daily on the same day carried an article reporting that the country’s Sci-Tech Complex this year had developed “expansive material on science and technology,” including an “animation regarding virus infectious disease.”
North Korea has since the beginning of the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus put in place strict measures intended to stem a potential outbreak, including effectively closing its borders and imposing quarantine on thousands of North Koreans.
State media has repeatedly underlined the importance of citizens following these new rules, reporting over the weekend that a local official in Kangwon province’s Chonnae county had been demoted for drinking, “debauchery,” and defying the regulations.
But the country now appears increasingly confident that those steps have mitigated the worst of the outbreak, with hints this week that the country may be toning down a now weeks-long propaganda campaign on public health, hygiene, and quarantine efforts.
Tuesday, for one, saw the party daily opt to reduce the number of column inches dedicated to COVID-19 — an issue which for the past few weeks has occupied at least one-third of a page.
The externally-focused outlet Arirang Meari also carried an article on Tuesday reporting that the “World Health Organization (WHO) and experts are advising [people] not to fear COVID-19 too much,” appearing to slightly downplay the severity of the situation.
“Experts said that… early detection, isolation of patients, epidemiological investigations” were important, the outlet said, stressing that daily routines such as hand washing and wearing masks can prevent the spread of the virus.
Edited by Oliver Hotham