North Korea to open schools amid signs of relaxation of virus rules


  • World
  • Tuesday, 02 Jun 2020

FILE PHOTO: People wearing protective face masks commute amid concerns over the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Pyongyang, North Korea March 30, 2020, in this photo released by Kyodo. Picture taken March 30, 2020. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea will open schools this month after delays over concern about the novel coronavirus, state media has reported, the latest sign of opening up even though the isolated country has said it has had no confirmed cases of the disease.

North Korean schools usually begin their spring term on April 1, but it was postponed as the government took various steps to ward off the virus, including sealing its borders.

State media has said high schools and universities started classes on April 20.

All other schools, kindergartens, day-care centres and nursing homes will reopen early this month, state radio reported late on Monday.

"Teachers and helpers will thoroughly follow hygiene rules, with thermometers and hand sanitizers installed at entrances of all classrooms and offices, while parents are advised to educate their children," the official Korean Central Broadcasting Committee (KCBC) said.

While North Korea has not reported any cases of the coronavirus, which emerged in China late last year, South Korea's main intelligence agency has said an outbreak there cannot be ruled out as the North had exchanges of people with China before closing the border in late January.

Children at kindergartens and day-care centres will get checked for the virus and buildings will be disinfected, the KCBC added.

Naenara, a North Korean state internet portal, released photos of high-school students having temperature checks when their schools opened in late April.

There have been other signs of a relaxation of coronavirus restrictions.

A video posted last month on YouTube by another state outlet, DPRK Today, showed a restaurant in the capital, Pyongyang, full of customers with many people, including staff, wearing masks.

The KCBC encouraged people to use takeout services while calling for workers in the fisheries industry, ports and freight stations to obey virus prevention measures.

"Pickup orders are promoted at restaurants and food stores," the KCBC said.

(Reporting by Hyonhee Shin; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 18
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
   

Did you find this article insightful?

Yes
No

100% readers found this article insightful

Across the site