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North Korea is under lockdown to fight the spread of a respiratory disease

An empty park outside a railway station due to a lockdown in Pyongyang.
Kim Won Jin
AFP via Getty Images
An empty park outside a railway station due to a lockdown in Pyongyang.

SEOUL — North Korea's capital is under a five-day lockdown to fight the spread of an unspecified respiratory disease. Authorities have made no mention of COVID.

The Russian Embassy in Pyongyang posted on its Facebook page a notice from authorities. It says the lockdown will last from Wednesday until Sunday.

Residents are advised to stay at home, and take and report their temperatures four times a day.

North Korea admitted its first COVID outbreak last May. It claimed victory over the disease by August, but experts remain skeptical of that claim.

This story originally aired in NPR's Newscast.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit

Anthony Kuhn is NPR's correspondent based in Seoul, South Korea, reporting on the Korean Peninsula, Japan, and the great diversity of Asia's countries and cultures. Before moving to Seoul in 2018, he traveled to the region to cover major stories including the North Korean nuclear crisis and the Fukushima earthquake and nuclear disaster.
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