Authorities in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang have ordered a five-day lockdown due to rising cases of an unspecified respiratory illness, Seoul-based NK News has reported, citing a government notice.
- Residents in Pyongyang will be required to stay in their homes until Sunday night
- North Korea acknowledged its first COVID-19 outbreak last year, and declared victory over the virus by August
- The secretive country never confirmed how many people caught the virus
The notice, which did not mention COVID-19, said the city’s residents were required to stay in their homes through to the end of Sunday and submit to temperature checks multiple times each day, according to NK News, which monitors North Korea.
On Tuesday, the website reported that Pyongyang residents appeared to be stocking up on goods in anticipation of stricter measures.
It is unclear if new lockdowns have been imposed in other areas of the country.
North Korea acknowledged its first COVID-19 outbreak last year, but by August it had declared victory over the virus.
The secretive country never confirmed how many people caught coronavirus, apparently because it lacks the means to conduct widespread testing.
Instead, it reported daily numbers of patients with fever, a tally that rose to some 4.77 million out of a population of about 25 million.
But it has not reported such cases since July 29.
State media have continued to report on anti-pandemic measures to battle respiratory diseases, including the flu, but they are yet to report on the lockdown order.
On Tuesday, state news agency KCNA said the city of Kaesong, near the border with South Korea, had intensified public communication campaigns “so that all the working people observe anti-epidemic regulations voluntarily in their work and life”.