Buses, trains disinfected as N Korea ramps up virus measures | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 14, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 14, 2020

Buses, trains disinfected as N Korea ramps up virus measures

Temperature checks, hand sanitisers, and face masks are being enforced across Pyongyang's public transport system as North Korea intensifies its fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

North Korea -- whose crumbling health system would struggle to cope with a major outbreak -- has long insisted it has not had cases of the disease.

But it raised its state of emergency to the maximum level in July, saying it had discovered what it called the country's first suspected virus case -- a former defector returning from the South.

Pyongyang had yet to confirm whether he tested positive, but such a source might be more diplomatically convenient for the North than if the virus arrived from China -- its key ally -- where it first emerged.

Pictures Wednesday showed passengers -- all with face coverings -- lining up for hand sanitiser before boarding buses in Pyongyang.

At the capital's railway station, visitors in face masks had their temperature checked before being allowed to enter the building.

Inside the waiting area, officials busily sprayed disinfectants as a preventive measure.

"We are stepping up propaganda activities as required by the maximum emergency system," said Jon Gyong Hui, a chief doctor at the railway station.

"We are especially putting more efforts than ever into disinfecting customers' hands and taking their body temperature."

The nuclear-armed North closed its borders in late January as the virus spread in neighbouring China.

It imposed tough restrictions that put thousands of people into isolation, but analysts say the country is unlikely to have avoided the contagion.


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