North Korea fires missile over Japan suspending some trains

North Korea locks down capital over ‘respiratory illness’ – Portal

SEOUL, Jan 25 (Portal) – Authorities in North Korea’s capital Pyongyang have ordered a five-day lockdown due to rising cases of an unspecified respiratory illness, the Russian embassy and Seoul-based NK News reported on Wednesday, citing a government release.

The notice, shared by the embassy on its Facebook page, said that “a special anti-epidemic period has been established” and urged foreign delegations to keep staff indoors. The order also required individuals to take their temperature four times a day and report the results to a hospital by phone.

The notice made no mention of COVID-19 but cited an “increase in winter cases with recurrent influenza and other respiratory illnesses.”

The lockdowns were first reported by South Korea’s NK News, which monitors mysterious North Korea.

On Tuesday, the website reported that Pyongyang residents appeared to be stocking up on goods in anticipation of tougher measures. It was unclear if other areas of the country had imposed new lockdowns.

North Korea admitted its first COVID-19 outbreak last year but had declared victory over the virus by August.

It has never been confirmed how many people have contracted COVID, apparently due to a lack of funds to conduct widespread testing.

Instead, Pyongyang reported a daily tally of patients with fever, a number that rose to about 4.77 million, out of a population of about 25 million. But it hasn’t reported such cases since July 29.

State media have continued to report on anti-pandemic measures to combat respiratory diseases, including the flu, but 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, has stepped up public communication campaigns “so that all working people voluntarily comply with anti-epidemic regulations in their work and life.”

reporting by Josh Smith; Edited by Raju Gopalakrishnan

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