SEOUL | Temperature controls, hydroalcoholic solutions and masks are made available to public transport users in Pyongyang as North Korea intensifies its fight against the coronavirus.
• Read also: All the developments of the pandemic
North Korea, whose notoriously failing medical system is said to be particularly vulnerable to a coronavirus epidemic, has said it has no COVID-19 cases on its soil.
However, she declared at the end of July “the maximum emergency” after the discovery of a first suspected case, saying it would be a former defector returning from South Korea.
Pyongyang has not yet confirmed whether it actually carries the virus.
For North Korea, contamination from South Korea would be more practical on a diplomatic level than a virus originating from China, Pyongyang’s main ally.
Images on Wednesday showed passengers, all with their faces covered in masks, queuing to wash their hands with hydroalcoholic solution before boarding buses in Pyongyang.
At the capital’s train station, travelers also wore face masks as they underwent temperature checks before being allowed into the building.
In the waiting area, employees sprayed disinfectant products as a preventive measure.
“We are stepping up propaganda activities in accordance with the maximum alert,” said Jon Gyong Hui, chief medical officer of the station.
“We are making more effort than ever to disinfect clients’ hands and take their body temperature,” he added.
North Korea closed its borders at the end of January, as the epidemic was exploding in China, and imposed drastic restrictions on its population, including strict containment of thousands of people.
In view of the devastation caused by the coronavirus across the planet, experts doubt that it has not spread among its population.