North Korea orders capital lockdown over 'respiratory' illness

Residents are instructed to check their temperatures four times a day and report the results to a hospital by phone.

Updated: January 25, 2023 - 11:38am

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Officials in North Korea reportedly ordered a five-day lockdown for residents of the capital Pyongyang starting Wednesday because of increasing cases of an unspecified respiratory illness.

The Russian embassy posted a notice on Facebook from the North Korean government stating, as translated, that "for 5 days, a special anti-epidemic period has been established" due to an "increase in winter cases of recurrent flu and other respiratory diseases."

The lockdown may be extended by three days, the notice also states.

Residents are instructed to check their temperatures four times a day and report the results to a hospital by phone. 

Pyongyang residents appeared to stock up on goods one day before the lockdown, according to South Korea-based NK News.

North Korea did not specify whether the respiratory illness was COVID-19, over which the Communist country declared victory in August. North Korea enacted stringent COVID restrictions in May, when the country reported its first-ever coronavirus case.

North Korea's neighbor, China, experienced an explosion of COVID cases earlier this month after easing lockdown restrictions.

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