North Korean authorities have increased the number of checkpoints and inspectors at internal boundaries nationwide to strengthen COVID-19 quarantine efforts ahead of Party Foundation Day on Oct. 10, Daily NK has learned. 

A Daily NK source recently sent over a video (below) of inspectors working at a quarantine checkpoint on the border of Kimhyongjik County in Yanggang Province.

What is most striking about the video is the signboard that reads “Anti-epidemic Checkpoint” and that the inspector seen walking around is wearing protective clothing. In the video, two inspectors, both wearing armbands, are also seen leaving and entering the checkpoint where they are stationed.

The source noted that the newly created quarantine checkpoints, which are separate from inspection checkpoints erected to limit people’s freedom of movement, show North Korea’s “sensitive” response to COVID-19.

North Korea continues to maintain a “maximum anti-epidemic system” and appears to have urgently built new quarantine checkpoints such as the one in the video in many regions of the country to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19 ahead of Party Foundation Day.

According to the source, personnel at these checkpoints are closely inspecting the “quarantine status” and medical examination certificates of people and materials crossing internal borders. 

Working in shifts, the personnel at these checkpoints are reportedly focusing on turning over disease control rule-breakers to quarantine agencies and isolation facilities as quickly as possible. All luggage and cargo these ruler-breakers carry are disinfected before being confiscated.

“The inspectors at the quarantine checkpoints are checking even the handbags of people going into the mountains for the fall harvest, asking where they are coming from and where they are going while taking their temperatures,” said the source. “[The authorities] are also stressing that showing off the superiority of the country’s preventative medicine, which has prevented COVID-19 from rearing its head, is a display of the people’s loyalty for the Workers’ Party.”

Meanwhile, in an article on Monday, Rodong Sinmun wrote that organized political efforts were being vigorously taken to further strengthen quarantine measures, stressing that thoroughly following emergency quarantine regulations was no mere “working-level problem,” but an important issue directly connected to the lives and safety of the people.

Please direct any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.

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Jeong Tae Joo is one of Daily NK's full-time journalists. He focuses on North Korean military matters. Please direct any questions about his articles to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.