Skip to main content
28 Jan 2020 | 09:17 AM UTC

North Korea: Month-long quarantine for travelers from China January 28 /update 1

North Korea imposes month-long quarantine for individuals arriving from China to prevent spread of coronavirus 2019-nCoV January 28; heightened security presence and additional screening measures expected at ports of entry nationwide

entry/exit
health
transportation
PRK

Event

On Tuesday, January 28, North Korean officials announced that all foreigners arriving from China will be subject to a one-month quarantine to prevent the spread of coronavirus (2019-nCoV), a virus that originated in Wuhan (Hubei province) in China. A heightened security presence and additional screening measures are expected at airports and seaports across North Korea over the near term.

On Wednesday, January 22, the North Korean government announced that it would close borders to all foreign tourists to prevent the spread of the virus. No case of the virus has been reported in the country as of January 28.

Context

The first case of 2019-nCoV was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan. Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus. At least 106 people have died in China, and an estimated 4600 cases have been confirmed worldwide.

The World Health Organization (WHO) held an emergency panel in Geneva (Switzerland) on January 23 to discuss the virus, ultimately deciding that it was too early to classify the outbreak as a "public health emergency of international concern." As of January 28, cases of the virus have been confirmed in Australia, Canada, Cambodia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Nepal, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and the US. Virus screening measures are being implemented at airports worldwide.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Individuals who plan to travel to or have recently returned from China, particularly Hubei province, are advised to monitor the situation and anticipate additional security checks at the airport. Individuals are advised to take precautionary measures to reduce their risk of contracting the virus:

• Avoid all contact with animals (dead or alive); avoid eating animal products that are undercooked; avoid all markets where animals are sold

• Avoid all close contact with people displaying symptoms of the disease (e.g. difficulties breathing)

• Frequently wash hands, wear a face mask

• Individuals within China developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to seek medical attention, avoid contact with other people, and wash hands regularly • Adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments

• Travelers returning from China developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to avoid spread of the disease .