The Coronavirus has created a new avenue of politics and North Korea is in the race to play up its own political game. While US and China have already become the top players of the blame game, North Korea authorities have planned their own strategy by circulating the idea that the US and South Korea are purposefully spreading the novel Coronavirus in their country.

A source in South Pyongan Province recently told the South Korean media Daily NK: "A coronavirus prevention session was held during a recent inminban (lowest administrative unit in North Korea) meeting." Even though there is no official document to support any such claims, the allegation indirectly may have clarified that North Korea is actually suffering from COVID-19.

Coronavirus in North Korea

As per the Daily NK source, a lecturer told the attendees that the US and South Korea are "spraying the coronavirus on various items" and sending them inside North Korea. He warned that people should be "alert" and if anyone finds out a "strange item" then they should report immediately to the authorities and refrain from touching it.

People carry flags in front of statues of North Korea founder Kim Il Sung (L) and late leader Kim Jong Il during a military parade marking the 105th birth anniversary Kim Il Sung, in Pyongyang April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj/Files
North Korea REUTERS/Damir Sagolj/Files

It should be noted that the report showcases North Korea's efforts to focus on "ideological education" as the country continues to face economic issues because of the international sanctions and the closure of the Sino-North Korean border.

Meanwhile, the state-run media continues to emphasize "patriotism" and ideological unity among the North Korean citizens. Rodong Sinmun published an editorial on April 29 stating that the main motivator of state development is "the ideological and spiritual strength of the masses." It also claimed that "...all party members and other working people should cherish absolute loyalty to the party and ardent patriotism and fully discharge their responsibilities and duties in the grand revolutionary advance for building a powerful socialist country."

North Korea fever-related deaths

Daily NK's report revealed that a sudden fever outbreak has occurred in Taehongdan County, Ryanggang Province and by April 27, some 21 people died. A source told the media, "I can't verify how many more of these yolbyong patients there were after Apr. 27 ... But I have been hearing that there has been an increasing number of patients suffering from an illness of an unknown cause." The Ryanggang Province-based source added that "There were an increasing number of people who had body temperatures of 38 to 40 degrees Celsius in Taehongdan County."

It should be noted that in North Korea, yolbyong is a blanket term referring to all illnesses accompanied by a fever. A fever of 37.5 degrees Celsius and above and lasting for two to three days is called as yolbyong.