Daily NK sources in Ryanggang Province have confirmed North Korean state media reports that some of the North Koreans quarantined between Feb. 1 and Feb. 10 have been released from quarantine.
“When the individuals were placed into quarantine in early February, the authorities had said they would either extend the quarantine period after medical checks or take those individuals out of quarantine within two weeks,” one source in the province explained to Daily NK. “After Kim Jong Il’s birthday [Feb. 16], the authorities issued a surprise extension to the quarantine for 30 more days.”
Some of those who were isolated for the extra month are no longer under quarantine, the source added.
NORTH KOREA SELECTIVELY TERMINATES QUARANTINES
North Korea’s state-run Rodong Sinmun published an article on Monday reporting that the country’s central command center for emergency disease control had instructed all regions and “units” in the country to lift quarantines on specific people.
These people included those who had been in contact with potentially infected individuals, and foreigners who had been under quarantine for 30 days, along with government employees, guides, interpreters, and drivers who had worked with foreigners.
The article stated that the “specified” areas and units throughout the country were moving forward with lifting the quarantines.
Daily NK sources have explained that, in general, those under close medical observation have been placed in isolation in state-run hotels or resorts. In the Sino-North Korean border region – where the threat of infection is higher – North Koreans under close medical observation have been generally quarantined at home.
The Rodong Sinmun article also stated that individuals who had shown no symptoms of the virus after coming into contact with those who entered the country (following the coronavirus outbreak in China) – and had already been quarantined for 40 days – were the first to be released from isolation in their homes or offices.
According to the newspaper, a total of around 1,020 individuals were released from isolation in Kangwon Province while quarantines ended for another 2,630 individuals in Chagang Province.
The Rodong Sinmun article further reported that “every region must have a list of those released from quarantine, by location, and submit this list to the central command center for emergency disease control. Those released will then receive a document confirming their release from quarantine.”
Daily NK sources have speculated, however, that quarantines on certain individuals have been lifted in areas outside of Kangwon and Chagang provinces based on the release of some of those in isolation in Ryanggang Province.
The Rodong Sinmun article, however, noted that those released from quarantines are still under observation.
“Being released from quarantine means that you’re no longer being watched by the local police,” one Daily NK source explained. “But the clinics and the disease control officials will continue to keep an eye on these individuals for [at least] another week.”
Sources also told Daily NK that North Korean authorities have attached paper printouts with the word “Quarantined” on the doors of designated households.
Local police stations and clinics, along with disease control officials, have spearheaded efforts to place printouts on quarantined houses. The printouts are reportedly being removed after the isolation period (a month) has passed.
“If the glue dries out and the paper falls off the door, those in the quarantined house must find another piece of paper, write ‘Quarantined’ on it, and paste it back on the door. They don’t give you another printout,” one source said.
“If local patrols find out that a house doesn’t have the sign up or that it’s been deliberately removed, they will drag the family to the police station,” he added.
*Translated by Violet Kim
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