China has finally ended its “Zero-Tolerance” strategy for Covid-19 and, this week, the Hong Kong people can finally walk around the city without masks. Unfortunately, North Korea is showing no signs of following.
As a nation on China’s border, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is stubbornly holding to the draconian idea of the Zero-Tolerance strategy. North Korea still strictly mandates mask, controlled movement, border closures, and lockdowns. Some reports indicate that they may be ready for yet another mandatory lockdown. While the rest of the world is cheering at football games, attending conferences, and buying tickets to concerts, Pyongyang is taking agressive measures to increase vaccination rates and control the travel of everyone in the country.
Covid-19 has taught us that control is a very easy thing for the government to assume and very difficult to let go of. No one knows that more than the people of North Korea.
Unlike other nations, Covid-19 is a special concern in North Korea because of chronic malnutrition and an overall lack of access to modern medicines. Essential supplies for sanitation are not readily available in many areas.
BTJ has teams working inside and outside of North Korea and have shared their thoughts on the possibility of North Korea opening up. The final analysis from their point of view on the ground, is that North Korea does not intend to open up their borders anytime soon and the people are suffering more now than when the pandemic first started in 2020.