North Korean state media announced on Sunday that the country would be tightening restrictions on entering its sea waters to help stop the coronavirus.
According to the The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), North Korea is taking steps to “completely remove uncivilized and unhygienic elements that could help make room for the spread of an epidemic,” during the winter.
Despite these measures, North Korea maintains that no coronavirus cases have been reported in its territory, a claim many experts question. The country has closed its borders, flown out diplomats and isolated residents displaying symptoms, the Associated Press reports.
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North Korea has reportedly taken extreme measures in response to the pandemic and its effect on the economy. According to the National Intelligence Service, North Korea executed an official for violating importation restrictions and a money changer for the falling value of its currency.
South Korean Ha Tae-keung quoted reports from the agency that said North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un was displaying “excessive anger” and taking “irrational measures.”
As the highly reclusive nation claims to have no cases, the AP notes that a major outbreak could be devastating to North Korea as its broken health care system suffers from a chronic shortage of medicines.
On Sunday, South Korea also announced new measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus, including banning year-end celebrations. Lessons for wind instruments and voice, saunas and some cafes would also be going under further restrictions.