An entire border patrol unit in Gyongsong County, North Hamgyong Province, has been put into quarantine after many of its members began suffering from fevers, Daily NK has learned.

A source in North Hamgyong Province told Daily NK on Monday the border patrol unit experienced a sudden spike in fever cases from June 5. “The entire company is in isolation, unable to go outside,” he said.

According to the source, the unit’s cadres felt something was wrong when the number of soldiers suffering from fevers suddenly began climbing after several slight fevers were reported. The unit’s commanders reported it to their superiors, who sent medical officers to conduct examinations of the sick soldiers. After checking everyone’s temperature, they placed the entire unit in isolation, blaming paratyphoid for the fever.

North Korean authorities are keeping personnel suffering serious bouts of fever separate from the others. Soldiers experiencing only initial symptoms, as well as those suffering no symptoms at all but who were likely infected, are being cared for separately, too.

The company believes private homes frequented by soldiers could be at risk as well, said the source. Unit officers have locked down soldiers’ families and are performing daily health checks on them.

special patrols coronavirus outbreak smuggler mobile phones strict smuggler border
A border patrol checkpoint in Pungso County, Yanggang Province. This photo was taken in February 2019. / Image: Daily NK

News of the paratyphoid outbreak has also widely spread among the residents of nearby villages. Showing concern and caution, locals are reportedly expressing exasperation, saying: “We already have problems caused by the coronavirus, and now we’re facing paratyphoid.”

Meanwhile, the source said that commanders are reinforcing unit strength by “deploying a platoon from a nearby company” to the sentry point vacated by the unit with fever cases. Pulling soldiers from several units has led to shortfalls in personnel on duty, however. 

“[The soldiers] have initially been given a 50-day quarantine, but amid difficulties in patrolling the border, it appears [the authorities] will deal differently with soldiers who have yet to show signs of fevers,” the source said.

Please direct any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.
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Kim Yoo Jin is one of Daily NK's freelance journalists. Please direct any questions about his articles to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.