Little is known about the corona situation in North Korea. The country, which was already internationally isolated, closed itself off even further after the outbreak of the pandemic. Extremely tough virus restrictions should apply within the boundaries. So far, details have been sparse, but now Russian diplomats provide an insight.
Employees at the Russian embassy in Pyongyang published a letter on Thursday. Among other things, it says: »It is understandable that many are leaving the North Korean capital. Hardly anyone endures the restrictions in daily life. The massive lack of essentials, including medicines. The fact that health problems simply cannot be treated. “
You describe a “massive departure” of diplomats from the capital who could no longer bear the local conditions. The British Guardian, among others, reported on the letter. There are “hardly any diplomats left in the country,” according to the letter. There are still less than 300 international representatives on site – and the trend is downward. Only last week the UN announced that it no longer had any foreign personnel in North Korea.
A case in February caused a stir. Due to a lack of travel alternatives, diplomats and their families had left with a kind of draisine, a hand-operated rail vehicle. Pictures show her crossing a bridge that separates North Korea from Russia.
Last week six North Korean border guards defected to China. They had given “hunger and exhaustion” as the motive for their risky escape.
Almost two million vaccine doses are to come into the country
The decline in trade with China, the most important international partner, is particularly problematic for the supply situation in the desperately poor country. This has decreased by 80 percent, and in the case of food and medication even further. That came from a report by Human Rights Watch released last month. Food, soap, toothpaste and batteries are in short supply. In addition, floods would have exacerbated the already tense supply situation.
Officially, there are no corona cases in the country. Beyond this state propaganda, analysts assume that there must have been outbreaks in the armed forces and at least also in the border towns. As part of a World Health Organization program, North Korea will soon receive around 1.7 million vaccine doses. Around 26 million people live in the country, the vast majority of them in dire poverty.