North Korea risking “huge economic loss” with coronavirus measures: state media
North Korean media on Tuesday hailed the country’s “super special quarantine measures” aimed at stemming a potential outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), despite the risk of “huge economic loss” incurred by the precautions.
The article, carried by the externally-focused Uriminzokkiri, is the first time a DPRK media outlet has noted the economic risks tied to Pyongyang’s strict coronavirus prevention measures, now in place for over a month.
The article, which hailed the outcomes of last month’s enlarged Politburo meeting, praised the North Korean ruling party’s “countermeasure[s] to scientifically, preemptively… block the infectious disease from flowing in and being transmitted.”
“Taking super-special quarantine measures, even risking huge economic loss — to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and the catastrophe it entails — is a courageous decision… that not anybody can easily decide and put into action,” it said.
North Korean quarantine workers in Sinuiju are disinfecting cargo, one of which says “Dandong” | Photo: DPRK Today
Citing leader Kim Jong Un’s remarks at last month’s Politburo meeting that quarantine measures represented “the serious national work defending the people and the grave responsibility of the party’s Central Committee (CC),” the article hailed the “revolutionary party spirit” shown in efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
It also linked the country’s anti-viral quarantine work to the recent “head-on breakthrough battle” policy line initiated at the start of the new year, describing the work as “serving the people” and guaranteeing them “happy life.”
“The party… even more so when it is a time of ordeal… has been carrying out tremendous operations for the happiness of the people,” the externally-focused propaganda outlet said, hailing the “hundreds of millions” spent by the party “for the work relieving the agony of the people.”
Tuesday’s Uriminzokkiri article did not specify what kind of “huge economic loss” it was referring to, but North Korea in recent weeks has shown off a number of potentially big-budget projects aimed at stemming a potential outbreak of COVID-19.
Several factories have been reported to have been ordered to mass-produce personal protective equipment (PPE) including masks, “our-style” disinfectants, anti-viral medicine, and other medical equipment.
It’s unclear what, precisely, might be the impact on the North Korean economy of a sustained closure of the country’s borders, with experts telling NK News last month that the country was likely well-prepared to weather a sustained period of isolation.
“They have undergone several ‘blockades,’ be it externally or self-imposed, and they therefore may be the country that can most easily deal with such a temporary shutdown of external contacts,” Thomas Fisler, former head of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in the DPRK, said.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
North Korean media on Tuesday hailed the country's "super special quarantine measures" aimed at stemming a potential outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), despite the risk of "huge economic loss" incurred by the precautions.
The article, carried by the externally-focused Uriminzokkiri, is the first time a DPRK media outlet has noted the economic risks tied to Pyongyang's strict coronavirus prevention measures, now in place for over a month.