People mobilized for the construction of a Yalu River embankment. It is mostly manual work due to equipment and energy difficulties. Photographed from the Chinese side of North Pyongyang Province in mid-July, 2021 (ASIAPRESS).

The lockdown of Hyesan City in Ryanggang Province in the northern region of North Korea, which had gone on for almost a month, was finally lifted on June 12. Several collaborators living in Hyesan City reported this news on the 13th. (Kang Ji-won)

On May 12, the Kim Jong-un regime admitted for the first time an outbreak of COVID-19, declaring it a "severe national emergency". Two days later, a lockdown was declared in Hyesan City, completely prohibiting people from going out. Towards the end of May, the lockdown was eased, with people finally being allowed to go out in some areas of the city.

According to the collaborators, the restrictions on going out have now been fully lifted, the public market has been reopened, and work at factories and other workplaces has begun again.

Things are off to a slow start however. One reporting partner said, "I went to the market, but only a few people were buying anything other than food. It's unprofitable because everyone has no money."

Food prices in the market are soaring. The price of white rice was 6,800 won and corn was 2,900 won on June 13th. According to a survey conducted on May 6, before confirmation of the COVID-19 outbreak, the price of white rice was 5,200 won and 2,700 won for corn (both per kilogram).
※1,000 won is about 0.133 USD.

The reporting partner also said, "There was a notice from the authorities that all the residents of Hyesan City would be mobilized to the rural areas,"

Due to the lockdown of the city and restrictions on the movement of residents, the mobilization of city residents for agricultural work has been delayed, greatly hindering rice planting and sowing work. It seems that one of the reasons for the lifting of the lockdown in Hyesan City is that the authorities wanted to rush to mobilize the people to rural areas.

※ASIAPRESS contacts its reporting partners in North Korea through smuggled Chinese mobile phones.