North Korean authorities have ordered a lock down of Nampo Port after coronavirus-infected goods were detected among imports that arrived in mid-July, Daily NK has learned. 

“The novel coronavirus [COVID-19] was detected among some imported goods that had arrived through Nampo Port’s freight customs office on around July 15,” a Daily NK source in Nampo said on Wednesday. “The government has taken a series of measures to deal with the situation.”

Most of the goods imported through the Nampo Port customs office are food and “manufactured items” imported legally and illegally into the country. According to the source, COVID-19 was detected in items that had been illegally imported into the country.

Local authorities immediately reported the detection of COVID-19 to the central government and North Korean authorities handed down a ban on all goods entering the port “legally or illegally,” the source said.

“The government has banned any other goods from entering the port and dispatched disease control officials from the central government along with other relevant officials,” the source said. “The officials have been ordered to identify all units and trade officials who imported the [contaminated] goods and conduct [medical] examinations on them in isolation. They were also ordered to keep [the detection of COVID-19] secret.”

The authorities have also ordered the creation of a “Lock Down Command” in the Central Emergency Anti-epidemic Command to manage lock downs near bridges on the border, at ports, and at train stations, along with a directive to further increase disease control measures at the country’s borders and coastal regions.  

The authorities warned that anyone who openly opposes the “party’s policies” by failing to follow the orders of the Lock Down Command will face “heavy legal punishment.”   

The authorities also ordered the Lock Down Command to immediately report any issues to the party, and issued a directive to party committees throughout the country that any “problematic” officials could be punished by being dismissed from the party, demoted or even fired.

North Korean authorities also handed down an order for all participants in party and government meetings to wear masks, and that a “strong ideological campaign” should be conducted against those who “chronically” fail to strictly follow disease control regulations, noting that such persons do not have even the slightest right to be a “socialist citizen.” 

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.