COVID-19 pandemic in North Korea
|COVID-19 pandemic in North Korea|
|First outbreak||Wuhan, Hubei, China|
|Arrival date||8 May 2022(3 months and 1 week ago)|
|Total ILI cases||4,772,813|
|History of North Korea|
|North Korea portal|
The COVID-19 pandemic in North Korea is part of an ongoing global pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a novel infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). North Korea confirmed its first case on 8 May 2022.
North Korea is a secretive and diplomatically isolated country in East Asia. Its weak healthcare system and impoverished population led to concerns over the country's vulnerability to an outbreak, though its cold chain vaccination program had proven capable in prior pandemics. With a totalitarian political system, little information on the pandemic's impacts on North Korea has been available to international observers.
In January 2020, the North Korean government began taking extensive measures to protect itself from the initial COVID-19 epidemic, including the establishment of quarantine facilities, and strict travel restrictions. In March and April 2020, the Asia Times and 38 North reported that these measures seemed largely successful.
Before May 2022, the government of North Korea had not reported any confirmed cases of COVID-19, although some foreign analysts believed that the virus had spread there by March 2020. Daily NK, a South Korean dissident-run news website, said that about 180 soldiers had possibly died from COVID-19 symptoms in January and February 2020. In July 2020, a single suspected case in Kaesong prompted a three-week lockdown.
By 2021, there were increasing reports that the isolation imposed to avoid the pandemic was having a major impact on the economy. The country declined several international offers of COVID-19 vaccines, making it one of the few countries not to begin a vaccination programme. North Korea began administering its first vaccine doses in June 2022.
In May 2022, the Korean Central News Agency reported that an unspecified number of people in the capital Pyongyang tested positive for the virus, and announced the country's first confirmed deaths. Authorities announced over 1 million North Koreans were suffering from "fever". Kim Jong-un declared a national emergency and a country-wide lockdown.
While NK News asserts that "fever" is used as a substitute for COVID-19 cases, the South Korean National Intelligence Service stated that the total included cases of waterborne diseases, such as measles and typhoid.
North Korea borders China and South Korea, two countries with early outbreaks. China is North Korea's closest ally, most important trading partner, and a source of tourists. The Chinese-North Korean border is porous, in contrast to the heavily militarized border between North and South Korea. However, suspected COVID-19 cases in the two Chinese provinces bordering North Korea (Liaoning and Jilin) have been low.
Diplomatically and economically isolated, North Korea is an impoverished country with a weak healthcare system and is subject to sanctions, rendering it vulnerable in the event of an outbreak. In March 2020, there was concern that the country's widespread malnutrition could exacerbate the spread of COVID-19. In April, North Korean public health official Pak Myong-su said that if the disease spread in North Korea, "a serious disaster could not be avoided". The North Korean government is secretive, and the North Korean media is tightly controlled, making it difficult for observers to determine what is going on in the country.
Historically, North Korea has restricted travel in the face of epidemics abroad, such as SARS in 2003 and the West African Ebola virus epidemic in 2014. It eradicated measles in 2018, having a very efficient vaccination program managed by the Central Hygiene and Anti-Epidemic Institute, and the Hygiene and Anti-Epidemic Station, assisted by UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO). Given the supply of COVID-19 vaccines, the program could vaccinate the entire population with a first dose within weeks.
North Korea's government is totalitarian and maintains strict control over the country and its society, which experts anticipated could help in enforcing disease control measures such as social distancing. The country has a high number of doctors for its per capita GDP, though they are less skilled and equipped than their counterparts in the Western world and in South Korea. North Korea also has a "somewhat better standard of sanitation" than other countries of the same economic level (e.g. Botswana or Laos).
North Korea was one of the first countries to close borders due to COVID-19. Starting from 23 January 2020, North Korea banned foreign tourists, and all flights in and out of the country were halted. The authorities also started placing patients with suspected COVID, including those with slight, flu-like symptoms, in quarantine for two weeks in Sinuiju. On 30 January, the state news agency of North Korea, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), declared a "state emergency", and reported the establishment of anti-epidemic headquarters around the country. Though many parts of the border were closed, the bridge between Dandong and Sinuiju remained open and allowed supplies to be delivered. In late February, the North Korean government said that it would keep the border closed until a cure was found.
On 2 February, KCNA reported that all the people who had entered the country after 13 January were placed under "medical supervision". South Korean media outlet Daily NK reported that five suspected COVID-19 patients in Sinuiju, on the Chinese border, had died on 7 February. The same day, The Korea Times reported that a North Korean female living in the capital Pyongyang was infected. Although there was no confirmation by North Korean authorities of the claims, the country implemented further strict measures to combat the spread of the virus. Schools were closed starting on 20 February. On 29 February, Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un called for stronger measures to be taken to prevent COVID-19 from spreading within North Korea.
In early February, the North Korean government took severe measures to block the spread of COVID-19. Rodong Sinmun, the Workers' Party of Korea newspaper, reported that the customs officials at the port of Nampo were performing disinfection activities, including placing imported goods in quarantine. All international flights and railway services were suspended in early February, and connections by sea and road were largely closed over the following weeks. In February, wearing face masks was obligatory, and visiting public places such as restaurants was forbidden. Ski resorts and spas were closed, and military parades, marathons, and other public events were cancelled. Schools were closed throughout the country; university students in Pyongyang from elsewhere in the country were confined to their dormitories.
Although South Korean media reported the epidemic had spread to North Korea, the WHO said there were no indications of cases there. On 18 February, Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of North Korea's ruling party, quoted a public health official reiterating that there had been "no confirmed case of the new coronavirus so far". The WHO prioritised aid for North Korea, including the shipment of protective equipment and supplies.
The Daily NK reported information from an informant inside North Korea's military on 9 March, stating that 180 soldiers had died in January and February from complications of "high fevers stemming from pneumonia, tuberculosis, asthma or colds", while about 3,700 soldiers were under quarantine.
North Korean citizens returning from other countries were subjected to a 40-day isolation period, plus a subsequent 30-day "medical observation" period. According to North Korean media, nearly 7,000 North Koreans had been subjected to these rules as of 1 March.[failed verification]
On 14 March, North Korea state media reported that there were still no confirmed cases in its territory.
Kim Jong-un ordered the construction of new hospitals in the country on 18 March. North Korean state media also reported the prior day that groundbreaking on the new Pyongyang General Hospital was underway. Kim told a newspaper linked to the ruling Workers' Party of Korea that the construction of new hospitals was being done for general improvement of the nation's healthcare system, without mentioning COVID-19.
Outside organizations provided aid to fight the virus: the Russian government provided test kits; the WHO announced plans to send supplies despite the lack of confirmed cases; and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, U.S. State Department, and South Korean government all indicated willingness to help. The U.S. government worked with the United Nations to make exceptions to sanctions, though the organizations were also criticized for slowing down the process for providing aid. Doctors Without Borders said in late March that supplies of diagnostic equipment and personal protective equipment were stranded on the Chinese border.
On 26 March, The New York Times reported that satellite imagery shared by the Royal United Services Institute showed that the illicit trafficking of coal and other goods had stopped, with the commercial vessels idling in their North Korean home ports. After shutting its border, North Korea's official exports to China were worth $610,000 in March 2020, down 96% from the previous year.
According to the North Korean government, 10,000 people had been quarantined by the end of March. From 12 February, the 14-day quarantine on all foreigners (including their local staff) was extended to 30 days. Diplomats and other foreigners were evacuated to Vladivostok in March. By 27 March, according to North Korean media, there were only two foreigners in quarantine, and 2,280 North Koreans were under "medical observation" in areas such as South Phyongan province, North Phyongan province, Ryanggang province, and the city of Rason.
The North Korean military fired five test missiles on two occasions in early March 2020, possibly as "an effort to ensure the country remains on the agenda for other nations amid the virus outbreak". More missile tests followed in late March, along with an announcement that the Supreme People's Assembly would meet in early April. Foreign observers said the government was trying to show confidence in their handling of the virus. The South Korean military called the missile tests "extremely inappropriate" in light of the pandemic.
In February and March, U.S. officials observed a decrease in military activity in North Korea, which they believed to be a sign that there were COVID-19 cases in the country. General Robert B. Abrams observed that the North Korean military had "been on lockdown for about 30 days", and "didn't fly an airplane for 24 days".
In mid-March, Kim Jong-un sent a letter to South Korean president Moon Jae-in as a show of support amidst the outbreak in South Korea. US President Donald Trump wrote a letter to Kim Jong-un to express his willingness to work with him on dealing with COVID-19. North Korean state media also reported on the severity of the outbreak in other countries.
On 1 April, North Korean public health official Pak Myong-su stated that North Korea had no cases of the virus. Edwin Salvador, the WHO's representative in North Korea, reported that as of 2 April, 709 people had been tested, with no confirmed cases, and 509 people were in quarantine. On 23 April, it was reported that the country had conducted 740 COVID-19 tests, and all of them came back negative. The same day, Daily NK reported that a defecting North Korean who was shot by a Chinese border guard while attempting to cross the Tumen River into China tested positive for the virus, and was under quarantine in a Chinese hospital.
On 11 April, Kim Jong-un presided over a meeting of the Politburo of the Workers' Party of Korea. The meeting adopted a joint resolution by the Central Committee, State Affairs Commission, and the Cabinet, "on more thoroughly taking national measures for protecting the life and safety of our people from the worldwide epidemic disease". The resolution called to take strict national countermeasures to thoroughly check the inroads of the virus due to the steady spread of the epidemic.
From mid to late April, restrictions on foreigners travelling in Pyongyang were relaxed, Nampo harbour was reopened to container ships, and the 14th Supreme People's Assembly with hundreds of delegates was held without the wearing of face masks. On 23 April, US analyst website 38 North reported that North Korea's early and extensive response appeared to be successful in containing the virus.
The British Embassy in Pyongyang was closed temporarily from 27 May and all diplomatic staff left the country. According to a statement from the British Foreign Office, this was due to restrictions on entry to the country, making it a challenge to rotate staff and sustain the operation of the Embassy.
The underground network that assists defectors in escaping North Korea was reported as being almost unable to operate amidst the strict controls implemented to stop the virus, and defection attempts were largely suspended. Defection rates had been declining already, probably due to increased security under the administrations of Kim Jong-un in North Korea and Xi Jinping in China. Between the start of April and end of June 2020, only 12 North Korean defectors entered South Korea, compared with 320 during the same period in 2019.
On 1 July, a WHO official said a ban on public gatherings remained, and people were required to wear masks in public. KCNA and Rodong Sinmun released images from a meeting on 2 July with Kim Jong-un and dozens of officials, none of whom were shown wearing masks. According to Dr. Edwin Salvador, the WHO's representative in North Korea, 922 people in the country were tested for COVID-19 and all had tested negative.
On 25 July, Kim Jong-un attended an emergency meeting after a suspected COVID-19 case was reported in the city of Kaesong. Kim declared a state of emergency and imposed a lockdown on the city. The suspected case was reported to be an individual who had defected to South Korea three years earlier, before swimming back to North Korea in July (a rare case of "re-defection"). According to a South Korean senior health official, the individual was neither registered as a COVID-19 patient, nor classified as someone who came in contact with other patients. Two close contacts of the defector in South Korea tested negative for the virus. On 5 August, Salvador said the returning defector was tested but the "results were inconclusive". On 14 August, the three week lockdown in Kaesong and nearby areas was lifted by Kim Jong-un, after "the scientific verification and guarantee by a professional anti-epidemic organisation".
According to South Korean intelligence, in August a North Korean official was executed for violating COVID-19 restrictions by bringing goods to Sinuiju from across the Chinese border. South Korean intelligence officials also said that the North Korean government had locked down Pyongyang, and had refused to accept 110,000 tons of rice from China for fear of letting the virus into the country.
Expatriates in North Korea became concerned about getting treatment for COVID-19, since the North Korean medical system was limited, and it was difficult to seek treatment in China due to travel restrictions.
According to NK News, on 22 September, the crew of a North Korean patrol boat killed a South Korean fisheries officer whom they encountered off their coast, and then torched his flotation device in compliance with COVID-19 emergency orders. Kim apologized to South Korea for the incident. In October, North Korean media said that the world was looking at North Korea with envy because of its virus-free status, but at the same time warned against complacency. In the same month, there was a spike in people tested and quarantined, possibly related to celebrations on 10 October.
In November 2020, Daily NK reported that there had been a spike of residents in quarantine facilities with COVID-19 symptoms, and that at least 80,000 non-military residents had been quarantined in total by then, although the country continued to maintain that it did not have any confirmed cases. A source to the Daily NK reported that some residents were suspecting a government cover-up, and that doctors were being ordered to not discuss COVID-19 as to not "damage the image" of Kim Jong-un.
By January 2021, North Korea's borders had been closed for one year. According to South Korean analysis, trade between North Korea and China had fallen by 76%.
In March, North Korea decided not to participate in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo due to concerns over potential exposure to COVID-19. As a result, the Olympic Committee of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea was suspended by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) through the end of 2022, thus prohibiting the country from participating in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
In April 2021, Russian diplomats in Pyongyang said that North Korea had "total restrictions that are unprecedented in their severity", as well as severe shortages. According to the diplomatic mission, many foreign diplomats had left the country, leaving less than 290 foreigners in North Korea, including only nine ambassadors and four chargés d'affaires. Later that month, Kim Jong-un said North Korea was facing its "worst-ever situation" in reference to the economic downturn due to COVID-19; he called for the party to wage another Arduous March to fight the severe economic difficulties.
However, the translation as "worst-ever situation" has been disputed by some analysts as an exaggeration, with the original speech (극난한) translatable as simply a very hard, or difficult situation. The translation as "worst-ever" had also been previously used in the 8th Congress of the Workers' Party of Korea to refer to the past five years, yet the economy is in nowhere near as much difficulty as in the 1990s. Similarly, in the North Korean context, "Arduous March" does not directly refer to economic hardship, but a firm resolve to carry out tasks of the party.
In June 2021, Kim Jong-un called a meeting to sack several officials over a "severe" COVID-19 breach and warned of a great crisis caused by the pandemic in the country. Despite this, the recently demoted Pak Jong-chon was promoted up to secretary of the Party Central Committee, and rejoined the Politburo as a full member.
American activist Tim A. Peters said that there were signs of "enormous stress on the North Korean population" due to the pandemic and associated restrictions, and that he suspected COVID-19 was spreading within the country despite the lack of confirmed cases.
In July 2021, North Korea rejected shipments of around two million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, citing concerns over potential side effects. The same month, Russia also offered to supply the country with its own Sputnik V vaccine on multiple occasions. In September 2021, the country rejected three million doses of the Chinese CoronaVac vaccine which were offered to it under the COVAX programme, asking that the doses be reallocated to other nations.
On 27 August, the WHO reported that 37,291 people with flu-like symptoms had so far been tested for COVID-19 in the country, with all testing negative.
In October 2021, it was reported by NK News that money coupons were becoming widespread in North Korea, due to COVID-19 controls reportedly causing cash printing issues. It was also noted that early signs of inflation were present in North Korea.
In January 2022, the first freight trains between North Korea and China resumed after a two-year hold. Uiju Air Base was converted to a cargo decontamination facility for containers brought in by freight trains. A South Korean–based humanitarian organisation, the Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation Research Center (남북경제협력연구소, IKECRC), received a UN sanctions exemption to send 20 thermal imaging cameras to North Phyongan province for detection of fever symptoms, while the WHO was granted 18 more months to deliver shipments for stalled projects.
May–June 2022: first confirmed cases
On 12 May 2022, the North Korean government declared a "severe national emergency", after samples from an unspecified number of people tested positive for COVID-19. This marked the first time that North Korea had publicly acknowledged the existence of COVID-19 cases in the country. The Korean Central News Agency stated that Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un had called an emergency meeting of the Politburo of the Workers' Party of Korea after learning of the samples, which were sourced from residents of Pyongyang and had symptoms "consistent with" the Omicron variant. The Politburo recommended the implementation of a "maximum" emergency quarantine, to include nationwide lockdowns, border restrictions, and restrictions on group sizes in workplaces. During the politburo meeting, the previous anti-pandemic strategy was criticised. NK News reported that the entire country had been placed under a lockdown two days prior, though farmers in border regions close to South Korea were seen still tending the fields. It was later reported by state media that at least one North Korean died after testing positive, and that 187,800 people are now under quarantine due to "fever".
On 13 May, Kim Jong-un held a meeting at the State Emergency Epidemic Prevention Headquarters, where he called for further anti-pandemic work, lockdowns, and isolation of people with suspected cases. The effort to stop the spread was declared to be a supreme task of the party. The "fever" was noted to have started spreading since late April 2022, with Pyongyang being the centre of the spread. In line with the politburo decision, various enterprises continued to operate normally while organising emergency quarantine procedures. Various major projects, such as the 10,000 residential flats project, were to continue as before. Also, on 13 May, North Korean state media reported 6 deaths and 350,000 cases of fevers.
On 14 May, an additional 174,440 cases of fever were reported, with 81,430 recoveries and 21 deaths. During the politburo conference, Kim Jong-un stated that the current situation was equal to the turmoil from the founding of the country, but the situation could be overcome with strong governance over the situation. According to the report, cases of the virus spreading between different regions had reduced. Emergency drug distribution was also ordered to commence in accordance with the anti-pandemic plan.
On 17 May, it was reported that during the 24-hour period from 15 to 16 May, 269,510 cases of fever were recorded in the country, 170,460 people were cured, and 6 more died. The total officially reported number of cases reached 1,483,060. Out of these, 819,090 recovered from the illness, 663,910 were receiving treatment, and 56 died. While case numbers continued to rise in the provincial regions, case numbers began to fall in Pyongyang. According to KCTV, out of the 50 deaths reported up to 17 May, 25 were due to inappropriate usage of medicine.
On 19 May, 262,270 cases of fever were reported, with one death. Regional treatment centres had also been set up, with large increases in the number of infected in the South Pyongan and South Hamgyong provinces.
On 3 June, NK News reported that GAVI had received information that North Korea had started its vaccination rollout with Chinese vaccines, with an anonymous source telling Radio Free Asia that the first doses were being administered to soldiers working in the construction sector. From around June, vehicles had started reappearing in satellite imagery in Pyongyang, which suggested that the lockdown was at least being partially lifted in Pyongyang, with a source alleging that restrictions were relaxed to allow for a few hours of outdoor time every day from late May, though provincial cities appeared to be still locked down.
August 2022: claimed end of outbreak
On August 5, 2022, the country reported that it has not seen a fever case for seven consecutive days, and that everyone with a fever case had recovered. On August 8, plans were announced to convene the Supreme People's Assembly in September, moving its members out of isolation. A separate review meeting to discuss a "change in direction" in pandemic response was also announced.
On August 11, Kim Jong-un's sister, Kim Yo-jong, stated that her brother had a fever, implying that he had COVID-19 at one point. She also blamed South Korea for the COVID-19 outbreak in the country, claiming that it sent contaminated anti-Pyongyang leaflets to spread the disease.
- As of August 9, 2022, 4,772,739 fever recoveries were reported.
- As of August 9, 2022, 74 deaths have been reported, of which 73 are associated with fever and 1 was positive for the BA.2 Omicron subvariant.
- "North Korea says 6 people dead, 187,800 in quarantine due to 'fever'". NK News. 12 May 2022. Retrieved 13 May 2022.
- "North Korea's COVID-19 outbreak by the numbers". NK News. 16 May 2022. Retrieved 16 May 2022.
- Park, Kee B.; Jong, Jessup; Jung, Youngwoo (23 April 2020). "Do They or Do They Not Have COVID-19 Inside North Korea?". 38 North. The Henry L. Stimson Center. Archived from the original on 27 July 2020. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
- Bernal, Gabriela (31 March 2020). "North Korea's silent struggle against Covid-19". Asian Times. Archived from the original on 7 May 2020. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
- "Gavi 'understands' North Korea administering COVID-19 vaccines from China | NK News". NK News - North Korea News. 3 June 2022. Retrieved 4 June 2022.
- "Coronavirus: nearly 200 North Korea soldiers 'die from outbreak government refuses to acknowledge'". South China Morning Post. 10 March 2020. Archived from the original on 31 August 2020. Retrieved 10 March 2020.
- Wainer, David; Lee, Jihye (17 March 2020). "Who Knows How Many Virus Cases North Korea Has. It Says Zero". Bloomberg.com. Archived from the original on 17 March 2020. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
- Jeong Tae Joo (9 March 2020). "Sources: Almost 200 soldiers have died from COVID-19". Daily NK. Archived from the original on 20 August 2020. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
- "Vehicles return to Pyongyang streets as rest of North Korea remains locked down | NK News". NK News - North Korea News. 3 June 2022. Retrieved 4 June 2022.
- 주경돈 (19 May 2022). "(LEAD) N.K. gauges timing for nuclear test after completing preparations: spy agency". Yonhap News Agency. Retrieved 4 June 2022.
- "North Korean COVID-19/Fever Data Tracker". 38 North. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
- "North Korea Bars Foreign Tourists Amid Virus Threat, Groups Say". Bloomberg.com. 22 January 2020. Archived from the original on 26 July 2020. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
- Sang-Hun, Choe (31 March 2020). "North Korea Claims No Coronavirus Cases. Can It Be Trusted?". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 31 August 2020. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
- "South Korea says detected North Korea missile fire 'inapproriate' [sic] amid coronavirus". CNBC. 21 March 2020. Archived from the original on 16 June 2020. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
- "N. Korea has no infected people with new coronavirus: expert". Mainichi Daily News. 2 April 2020. Archived from the original on 4 April 2020. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
- Im, Esther S.; Abrahamian, Andray (20 February 2020). "Pandemics and Preparation the North Korean Way". 38 North. The Henry L. Stimson Center. Archived from the original on 28 July 2020. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
- Patel, Minal K. (2019). "Progress Toward Regional Measles Elimination — Worldwide, 2000–2018". MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 68 (48): 1105–1111. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm6848a1. PMC 6897527. PMID 31805033. Archived from the original on 25 August 2020. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
- M., Nagi Shafik; Yoonhee, C. Ryder; B., Kee Park (5 August 2021). "North Korea's Vaccination Capabilities: Implications for a COVID-19 Campaign". 38 North. The Henry L. Stimson Center. Retrieved 9 August 2021.
- "Why North Korea's healthcare sector is better equipped than many believe". NK News - North Korea News. 20 March 2020. Archived from the original on 28 July 2020. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
- Shinkman, Paul D. "North Korea Opens Borders to Aid Amid Coronavirus Threat". Archived from the original on 21 March 2020. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
- hermesauto (21 January 2020). "North Korea to temporarily ban tourists over Wuhan virus fears, says tour company". The Straits Times. Archived from the original on 24 January 2020. Retrieved 22 January 2020.
- "N. Korea quarantines suspected coronavirus cases in Sinuiju". Daily NK. 28 January 2020. Archived from the original on 30 January 2020. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
- Berlinger, Joshua; Seo, Yoonjung (7 February 2020). "All of its neighbors have it, so why hasn't North Korea reported any coronavirus cases?". CNN. Archived from the original on 7 February 2020. Retrieved 7 February 2020.
- "Russia Delivers Coronavirus Test Kits to North Korea". 12 March 2020. Archived from the original on 21 March 2020. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
- O'Carroll, Chad (26 March 2020). "COVID-19 in North Korea: an overview of the current situation". NK News. Archived from the original on 29 March 2020. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
- Jang Seul Gi (7 February 2020). "Sources: Five N. Koreans died from coronavirus infections". Daily NK. Archived from the original on 8 February 2020. Retrieved 8 February 2020.
- "Coronavirus spreads to North Korea, woman infected". The Standard. Hong Kong. 7 February 2020. Archived from the original on 8 February 2020. Retrieved 8 February 2020.
- "Nation steps up fight against novel CoV". The Pyongyang Times. Archived from the original on 16 March 2020. Retrieved 8 February 2020.
- "Work to Curb the Inflow of Infectious Disease Pushed ahead with". Rodong Sinmun. Archived from the original on 16 March 2020. Retrieved 8 February 2020.
- Joo, Jeong Tae (21 February 2020). "N. Korea closes schools throughout the country for one month". Daily NK. Archived from the original on 21 March 2020. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
- "Kim warns of 'serious consequences' if virus spreads to N Korea". al Jazeera. Archived from the original on 25 April 2020. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
- 검사검역을 사소한 빈틈도 없게 (in Korean). 9 March 2020. Archived from the original on 15 March 2020. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
- Joo, Jeong Tae (18 March 2020). "Sources: N. Korea extends school closures until April 15". Daily NK. Archived from the original on 20 March 2020. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
- "World Health Organization says there are 'no indications' of coronavirus cases in North Korea". CNBC. 19 February 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2021.
- "World Health Organization says there are 'no indications' of coronavirus cases in North Korea". CNBC. 19 February 2020. Archived from the original on 19 February 2020. Retrieved 19 February 2020.
- Kim, Stella; Hagen, Isobel (14 March 2020). "North Korea claims it has no coronavirus cases". NBC News. Archived from the original on 14 March 2020. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
- "Kim Jong Un orders workers to build new hospitals as North Korea continues to claim no coronavirus cases". Fox News. 18 March 2020. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
- "COVID-19: North Korea releases quarantined people". www.aa.com.tr. Archived from the original on 20 March 2020. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
- Kim, Jeongmin (27 March 2019). "Only two foreigners remain under quarantine in North Korea, state media says". Archived from the original on 28 July 2020. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
- Christoph Koettl (11 April 2020). "Coronavirus Is Idling North Korea's Ships, Achieving What Sanctions Did Not - The New York Times". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 12 April 2020. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
- Sang-Hun, Choe (4 July 2020). "In North Korea, Coronavirus Hurts Like No Sanctions Could" Archived 14 July 2020 at the Wayback Machine The New York Times.
- "Missile tests and meetings: North Korea signals confidence in face of coronavirus". Reuters. 23 March 2020. Archived from the original on 14 August 2020. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
- "North Korea Fires Missile Into East Sea". www.bloomberg.com. Archived from the original on 2 April 2020. Retrieved 31 March 2020.
- "Top U.S. Commander 'Fairly Certain' North Korea Has Virus Cases". Bloomberg.com. 14 March 2020. Archived from the original on 27 July 2020. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
- "North Korea says Trump wrote Kim, offered coronavirus cooperation". Reuters. 21 March 2020. Archived from the original on 28 July 2020. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
- Nebehay, Stephanie (8 April 2020). "North Korea testing, quarantining for COVID-19, still says no cases: WHO representative". Reuters. Archived from the original on 28 June 2020. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
- Norman, Greg (23 April 2020). "North Korea claims 740 coronavirus tests came back negative, thousands released from quarantine". Fox News. Archived from the original on 23 August 2020. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
- Gi, Jang Seul (23 April 2020). "N. Korean tests positive for COVID-19 in China". Daily NK. Archived from the original on 17 August 2020. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
- Bernal, Gabriela (11 April 2020). "North Korea's Politburo discusses "danger" from COVID-19, promotes officials". Asian Times. Archived from the original on 18 August 2020. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
- Frank, Ruediger (13 April 2020). "The 2020 Parliamentary Session in North Korea: Self-Criticism and Dubious Optimism Concerning Economic Development". 38 North. The Henry L. Stimson Center. Archived from the original on 21 July 2020. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
- "UK closes embassy, pulls diplomats from North Korea over coronavirus restrictions" Archived 28 July 2020 at the Wayback Machine Reuters. 28 May 2020.
- Shin, Hyonhee (1 July 2020). "North Korea reopens schools, but stays on guard against COVID-19 threat: WHO" Archived 28 July 2020 at the Wayback Machine Reuters.
- Salmon, Andrew (1 June 2020). "North Korea's police state hints at virus victory". Asia Times. Archived from the original on 7 August 2020. Retrieved 11 June 2020.
- "Group of North Korean women and children escape coronavirus lockdown". www.ft.com. 14 March 2020. Archived from the original on 28 July 2020. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
- White, Edward (1 July 2020). "North Korea defections at record low after China virus crackdown" Archived 28 July 2020 at the Wayback Machine Financial Times.
- Berlinger, Joshua; Hancocks, Paula; Seo, Yoonjung (3 July 2020). "North Korea's Covid-19 response has been a 'shining success,' Kim Jong Un claims" Archived 29 July 2020 at the Wayback Machine CNN.
- "Coronavirus update: English tourists to be cleared for international travel without the worry of return quarantine" Archived 9 July 2020 at the Wayback Machine ABC News (Australia). 3 July 2020.
- Sang-Hun, Choe (25 July 2020). "North Korea Declares Emergency After Suspected Covid-19 Case" Archived 28 August 2020 at the Wayback Machine The New York Times
- Cha, Sangmi; Smith, Josh (25 July 2020). "North Korea declares emergency in border town over first suspected COVID-19 case". Reuters. Archived from the original on 29 July 2020. Retrieved 25 July 2020.
- "Coronavirus: Swimming defector was not infected, says S Korea". BBC. 27 July 2020. Archived from the original on 31 August 2020. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
- Farge, Emma; Smith, Josh (5 August 2020). "WHO says North Korea's COVID-19 test results for first suspected case 'inconclusive'" Archived 21 August 2020 at the Wayback Machine Reuters.
- Cha, Sangmi (14 August 2020). "North Korea lifts lockdown in border town after suspected COVID-19 case 'inconclusive'" Archived 20 August 2020 at the Wayback Machine Reuters.
- Political News Team. "16th Meeting of Political Bureau of 7th Central Committee of WPK Held". rodong.rep.kp. Archived from the original on 14 August 2020. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
- "North Korea Executed Coronavirus Rule-Breaker, Says South Korean Intelligence". NPR.org. Archived from the original on 21 December 2020. Retrieved 21 December 2020.
- "Expats in Pyongyang worry about getting medical help amid COVID-19 restrictions | NK News". 28 August 2020. Archived from the original on 29 August 2020.
- Kim, Jeongmin; Kasulis, Kelly (25 September 2020). "Kim Jong Un apologizes for lethal shooting of South Korean official". NK News. Archived from the original on 14 February 2021. Retrieved 31 October 2020.
- Zwirko, Colin (29 October 2020). "The 'cleanest place': North Korea revives propaganda touting zero COVID-19 cases". NK News. Archived from the original on 29 October 2020. Retrieved 29 October 2020.
- Kim, Jeongmin (3 November 2020). "North Korea reports 5,368 "suspected" COVID-19 cases, surge amid military parade". NK News. Archived from the original on 3 November 2020. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
- Jang Seul Gi (5 November 2020). "Sources: N. Korea is hiding the real number of suspected COVID-19 cases". Daily NK. Archived from the original on 21 February 2021. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
- Shin, Mitch (6 January 2021). "What Is the Truth About COVID-19 in North Korea?". The Diplomat. Archived from the original on 1 February 2021. Retrieved 30 January 2021.
- "North Korea to skip Tokyo Olympics because of Covid-19 fears". NBC News. 6 April 2021. Retrieved 9 April 2021.
- "North Korea suspended from IOC". BBC Sport. Retrieved 31 October 2021.
- "Russian diplomats complain of acute shortages in North Korea causing foreign exodus". Reuters. 1 April 2021. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
- "North Korea's Kim Jong Un admits nation facing "worst-ever situation"". CBS News. 8 April 2021. Retrieved 9 April 2021.
- "Kim Jong Un compares North Korea's economic woes to 1990s famine". NBC News. The Associated Press. 9 April 2021. Retrieved 9 April 2021.
- ""Worst-Ever Situation" or Not - 38 North: Informed Analysis of North Korea". 38 North. 14 April 2021. Retrieved 27 October 2021.
- Smith, Josh (30 June 2021). "North Korea's Kim says 'great crisis' caused by pandemic lapse". Reuters.
- McCurry, Justin (30 June 2021). "North Korea Covid-19 outbreak fears after Kim Jong-un warns of 'huge crisis' in 'antivirus fight'". TheGuardian.com. Guardian.
- "North Korea reveals new top military brass days after politburo meeting | NK News". NK News - North Korea News. 7 September 2021. Retrieved 27 October 2021.
- Power, John (1 August 2021). "North Korea's pandemic isolation fuels humanitarian disaster fears". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 1 August 2021.
- "North Korea rejects offer of almost three million Covid-19 jabs". BBC. 1 September 2021. Retrieved 2 September 2021.
- "COVID-19 Weekly Situation Report" (PDF). WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia. 27 August 2021.
Cumulatively 37 291 persons have been tested with reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) at an interval of 10 days (total samples: 74 308) and all were found negative for COVID -19. These include 665 persons who were tested during the period of 12–19 August 2021, of which 97 were people with influenza-like illness and/or severe acute respiratory infections and rest 568 were health care workers.
- O'Carroll, Chad (26 October 2021). "North Koreans using cash coupons as country struggles to print new bills". nknews.org. NK News. Archived from the original on 26 October 2021. Retrieved 26 October 2021.
- "North Korea train makes first crossing into China since COVID-19 border lockdown: Reports". CNA. Retrieved 19 January 2022.
- "China and North Korea reopen rail link after 2-year coronavirus closure". South China Morning Post. 17 January 2022. Retrieved 19 January 2022.
- Davies, Christian (15 November 2021). "North Korea building project points to reopening of border with China". Financial Times. Retrieved 19 January 2022.
- Kim, Jeongmin (3 February 2022). "South Korean group receives new exemption to deliver COVID-19 aid to North Korea". NK News.
- "로동신문". rodong.rep.kp. Retrieved 13 May 2022.
- "North Korea orders strict lockdown with first official Covid cases". BBC News. 12 May 2022. Retrieved 12 May 2022.
- "North Korea admits to Covid outbreak for first time and declares 'severe national emergency'". The Guardian. 12 May 2022. Retrieved 12 May 2022.
- "조선중앙통신 | 기사 | 조선로동당 중앙위원회 정치국 국가방역사업을 최대비상방역체계로 이행하기로 결정". kcna.kp. Retrieved 12 May 2022.
- "North Korea reports first-ever COVID-19 outbreak". NK News - North Korea News. 12 May 2022. Retrieved 12 May 2022.
- "조선중앙통신 | 기사 | 조선로동당 중앙위원회 제8기 제8차 정치국회의 진행". kcna.kp. Retrieved 12 May 2022.
- Chung, Chaewon (12 May 2022). "North Korea says 6 people dead, 187,800 in quarantine due to 'fever' | NK News". NK News - North Korea News. Retrieved 13 May 2022.
- "KCNA | Article | Respected Comrade Kim Jong Un Visits State Emergency Epidemic Prevention Headquarters". kcna.kp. Retrieved 13 May 2022.
- "로동신문". rodong.rep.kp. Retrieved 13 May 2022.
- "로동신문". rodong.rep.kp. Retrieved 13 May 2022.
- Tong-hyung, Kim; Kim, Hyung-jin (12 May 2022). "North Korea reports 6 deaths after admitting COVID-19 outbreak". CTV News. Associated Press. Retrieved 13 May 2022.
- "조선중앙통신 | 기사 | 조선로동당 중앙위원회 정치국 협의회 진행". kcna.kp. Retrieved 14 May 2022.
- "전국적인 전염병전파 및 치료상황 통보". kcna.kp (in Korean). Retrieved 17 May 2022.
- McCurry, Justin (17 May 2022). "North Korea on brink of Covid-19 catastrophe, say experts". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 May 2022.
- "N. Korea reports 51% of "fever" cases are concentrated in Pyongyang". english.hani.co.kr. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
- 박수윤 (18 May 2022). "北 코로나 사망 '소아' 비중 높아…전문가 "매우 예외적"". 연합뉴스 (in Korean). Retrieved 20 May 2022.
- Tong-hyung, Kim (19 May 2022). "North Korea's suspected COVID-19 caseload nears 2 million". CTV News. Retrieved 19 May 2022.
- Lomashvili, Masho (20 May 2022). "Pearls, rhino horns and arsenic: Covid-hit North Koreans advised to turn to traditional medicine". Coda Media. Retrieved 4 June 2022.
- "Covid-19: North Korea claims to have recovered from outbreak". BBC News. 5 August 2022.
- Choi, Soo-Hyang (7 August 2022). "North Korea to convene parliament, anti-epidemic meeting amid zero-COVID claim". Reuters.
- "North Korea leader Kim Jong-un 'suffered fever' during Covid outbreak, says sister". BBC News. Retrieved 11 August 2022.