North Korea locks down capital for ‘respiratory disease’: report

SEOUL: Authorities in the North Korean capital Pyongyang have ordered a five-day lockdown due to rising cases of an unspecified respiratory illness, Seoul-based NK News reported on Wednesday, citing a government advisory.
The notice did not mention Covid-19, but said residents of the city are required to stay at home until the end of Sunday and must undergo temperature checks several times a day, according to NK News, which monitors North Korea.
On Tuesday, the website reported that residents of Pyongyang appeared to be stocking up on goods ahead of tougher measures. It is unclear whether other parts of the country have imposed new lockdowns.
North Korea acknowledged its first Covid-19 outbreak last year, but in August declared victory over the virus.
The secretive country has never confirmed how many people have caught Covid, apparently because it cannot afford large-scale testing.
Instead, it reported the daily number of fever patients, a tally that rose to some 4.77 million, out of a population of around 25 million. But it has not reported such cases since July 29.
State media continued to report on anti-pandemic measures to combat respiratory illnesses, including the flu, but had yet to report on the lockdown order.
On Tuesday, the official KCNA news agency said the city of Kaesong, near the border with South Korea, had stepped up its public communication campaigns “so that all workers voluntarily follow anti-epidemic regulations in their work. and their lives”.

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