December 04, 2020

Pyongyang stores low on foreign goods amid North Korean COVID-19 paranoia

State media warned citizens against imported items out of fear that they could spread the virus from abroad

Amid an ongoing, full-scale border lockdown against COVID-19, North Korea on Tuesday warned its citizens against relying on imported foreign goods -- calling the habit a dangerous “disease” that could spread the virus from abroad.

Pyongyang’s warning against bringing in foreign goods is not just empty words, either: On Monday, sources told NK News that supermarkets and shops in Pyongyang have lacked foreign-sourced staples for months, including coffee, cocoa and chocolate. This appears to be out of paranoia that foreign goods could carry traces of COVID-19 — which is possible, according to the United Nations, though not the most common way the virus has been transmitted worldwide.