According to a high-ranking source working for Daily NK in North Korea, around 104,000 people were in early November. suspects of COVID-19 were isolated in state institutions. These individuals have been placed in centers across the country, including South Pyongan Province, Two Hwanghae Provinces, North Hamgyong Province, Yanggang Province, Chagang Province and Nampo Province.
The crisis center for epidemic control receives weekly statistical reports on admissions, discharges and deaths at these facilities. Headquarters reports these statistics to party leadership on a weekly and quarterly basis.
This means that at least 185,000 civilians with COVID-19 symptoms have been isolated in state-owned facilities since North Korea closed the border last year. Given that North Korea has separate centers for military personnel and high-ranking cadres, the actual number of people quarantined is likely to be higher.
North Korea places people in home quarantine if they show symptoms such as a fever of 37.5 degrees or higher, coughing, or trouble breathing, and watches them for seven days. If symptoms persist after seven days, patients are referred to as “suspected cases” of COVID-19.
If the patient’s condition does not improve during the home quarantine period, the authorities are forcing him to be placed in state quarantine centers. The health authority gives the document with the diagnosis of a “suspicious case” to the family, which must submit this document to the place of employment of the patient.
Even last year, North Koreans they could have avoided being sent to centers if they had paid a bribe. However, since the Eighth Party Congress in January this year, the mood in the country has changed so that people suspected of the disease must unconditionally be sent to isolation centers, regardless of position or rank.
The problem is that patients in quarantine facilities often worsen and die due to lack of appropriate treatment and bad conditions in the centers.
The centers are unable to properly serve patients as they do not have adequate heating in winter. The administrators of the centers provide people with thin blankets, but few use them because of head lice.
Most patients use blankets sent by families or purchased separately from doctors, or facility managers, but even that is not enough in winter, when it’s cold.
Also, the meals that patients receive twice a day – morning and afternoon – are reportedly quite modest.
They regularly receivey mixed with corn and salted cabbage soup. But when they run out of electricity, they don’t even get it, they get undercooked rice and a cold soup with salted cabbage. Nevertheless, the source said quarantine centers charge patients for meals when they are discharged.
Patients staying in the centers are not allowed to receive visitshowever, if families send money, the center administrators can and will provide outside food to patients.
Meanwhile, according to the South East Asia Region’s 44th Weekly Report on the COVID-19 Virus Situation, the North Korean Ministry of Public Health announced that as of November 4, 44,830 people had been tested for the COVID-19 virusand a total of 89,386 samples were collected. However, all tests were “negative”.
Nevertheless, North Korean authorities said the 109 people who received COVID-19 tests between October 29 and November 4 suffered from “flu-like illnesses or acute respiratory infections.”
Source: Daily NK