Several embassies in North Korea have been shut down after many diplomats were evacuated over coronavirus fears. While North Korea has yet to confirm a single case of the virus, it has imposed strict rules to curnb the spread. It includes closing of borders and isolating thousands of its own people.
The quarantine restrictions imposed by Pyongyang over the spread of the novel coronavirus were recently relaxed and hundreds of foreigners were allowed to go back home. In the past month, foreigners and diplomats were subjected to virtual lockdown in their own premises. According to reports, Russian ambassador Alexander Matsegora has claimed that the conditions of his quarantine were 'morally crushing'. The easing of the restrictions last week was followed by 200 foreigners finally being allowed to leave their compounds.
I have never been happier standing on Kim Il Sung Square. pic.twitter.com/whIY6Lvwoy— Joachim Bergström (@jchmbrgstrm) March 3, 2020
The mass evacuation of diplomats comes after reports stated that a special flight was being arranged to fly diplomats and foreigners from North Korea to the Russian city of Vladivostok.
Sad to say farewell this morning to colleagues from German Embassy and French Office #NorthKorea which are closing temporarily. #BritishEmbassy remains open. #àbientôt #bisbald in #Pyongyang #DPRK pic.twitter.com/bHWPFixiiI— Colin Crooks (@ColinCrooks1) March 8, 2020
According to reports, North Korea has a weak medical infrastructure and prevention is its only option to combat the deadly coronavirus. The infection that first broke out in China's Wuhan province has been officially named as COVID-19 by the World Health Organisation (WHO). While most of the cases rae reported in mainland China, the virus has spread to multiple countries around the world and have infected 110,087 people worldwide. The death toll from the virus stands at 3,830 world wide.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte signed a decree putting most of northern Italy under lockdown as the death toll due to the novel coronavirus continues to rise. Museums, theatres, cinemas, and other entertainment venues have also been closed all over the nation due to the decree signed by Conte on March 8. Italy reported the largest daily increase in the fatalities with 49 people dying to the virus within 24 hours, taking the toll to over 366.
The growing threat of the deadly virus has forced the government to put 16 million people of northern Italy, including Lombardy region and 14 other provinces, under lockdown. According to media reports, the earlier draft of the decree had considered keeping the region under quarantine until April 3 but there has not been any official confirmation. Announcing the government decree in a news conference after 2 am (local time), Conte said that Italy is facing a national emergency.