(Photo) Workers wearing protective clothing repair the embankment on the riverside of the Yalu River, a border river with China. Photographed from the Chinese side in October 2020 (ASIAPRESS).

◆Coronavirus threatens to be just around the corner!

In response to the growing wave of coronavirus infections in Jilin Province, China, North Korean authorities have placed the country's border region with China in a state of emergency alert (Kang Ji-won).

The growing coronavirus outbreak started in early March in Jilin Province. At one time, more than 4,000 people were infected, and cases even emerged in areas closely bordering North Korea. In China’s Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture, which faces the Tumen River on the border, more than 10 people were infected at one time. This included infections in Hunchun City, Yanji City, etc., and in Baishan City along the upper reaches of the Yalu River. On March 20, there were reportedly 8 infected persons in the Yanbian area, including asymptomatic persons.

Although the actual situation is unknown, the North Korean authorities, which have been boasting of " Zero Coronavirus," have grown tense.

Our reporting partner who lives in Hyesan City, Ryanggang Province, told us the following:

"It's a total emergency. The government explained the coronavirus situation faced by those on the Chinese side to the residents and said, 'Coronavirus is just around the corner. Stay alert at all times,' and raised the alert level."

◆Quarantine if you have coronavirus-like symptoms

To summarize the reports from our reporting partner, the emergency measures currently implemented are as follows.

● Enforcement of the night-time traffic ban.
The night-time traffic ban introduced in 2020 from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. was slightly eased in February but is now completely in effect again. Shopping and visiting neighbours at night are no longer allowed.

● No access to border rivers - "Absolute prohibition."
The approach to the Yalu River itself is completely blocked. Construction and other work near the river have been halted. Border guards are also prohibited from using the Yalu River's water, and military personnel are complaining due to the inconvenience. Also, censor teams have been dispatched to military units to prevent border guards from aiding and abetting smuggling.

● Medical care is limited to cold medicine and quarantining.
Doctors assigned to each people's group check whether people are showing any cold symptoms, and those who are symptomatic are sent to quarantine facilities. Recently, the government supplied medical institutions with antipyretics and saline solutions made in China. All patients suspected of having coronavirus are prescribed cold medicine.

● Quarantine and Lockdown.
Quarantine personnel have been increased, and intensive disinfection of institutions, workplaces, and people's groups is in progress. If a person with coronavirus symptoms does not report their symptoms or is not quarantined, the entire area involved will be sealed off.