Shoppers in Pyongyang buy food in large quantities amid rumors that authorities intend to order a multi-day lockdown due to the new wave of the coronavirus epidemic. The reason may be the abolition of the zero covid rule in neighboring China and a huge increase in the number of cases.
There has also been an increase in the number of employees carrying out body temperature checks of customers at the entrances of stores and public facilities. The authorities of the DPRK have not yet officially announced the blockade of the capital.
According to official data, the coronavirus so far in North Korea only 74 people died, and the country officially declared an end to the epidemic on August 1, 2022.
Kim Jong Un suggested last year that citizens would start receiving COVID-19 vaccines by the end of November 2022. Little is known if this plan has been implemented.
Despite the possibility of another epidemic and lockdown, North Korea appears to be holding another military parade on February 8.
The NK News service, analyzing North Korean state television in recent days, points out that the inhabitants of Pyongyang taking part in the Lunar New Year celebrations, they probably wore double masks on their faces, which may indicate tightening of security rules in the capital.
KCNA TV/NK News
Mystery masks in North Korea
On some of the masks seen on TV, special “colorful stickers” are also noteworthy. North Korea expert Martin Weiser told NK News that “stickers” may contain tracking chips — how to control and track residents during a pandemic.
“Other countries like China have used mobile phone apps to track citizens, but not all North Koreans own smartphones– said the expert.