North Korean military organizations fined or shut down for violating COVID-19 quarantine rules

North Korean military entities have been fined or arrested for violating quarantine rules, according to several sources.

The sanctions come after North Korea launched extensive emergency inspections as a quarantine measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19 this winter.

A Daily NK source in the North Korean military in Pyongyang said on Monday that the central emergency epidemic headquarters had carried out a week-long quarantine inspection at an army headquarters in Sokbong-dong, in Sosong District, from November 2. Units were punished if inspectors found they violated emergency quarantine rules.

According to the source, the central emergency anti-epidemic headquarters carried out the inspection without warning. With the sudden inspection, authorities stressed that they were examining the working attitudes of military organs, groups and commanders in the course of the protracted emergency quarantine efforts.

As a result, the Central Anti-Epidemic Emergency Headquarters conducted an emergency inspection to determine the extent to which the military headquarters and its subordinate entities were complying with quarantine laws against COVID-19. Quarantine violators were severely punished.

In fact, a Ministry of Defense noodle shop was closed for three months for failing to regularly test its staff, while two commuter buses for the General Policy Bureau, the General Staff Department and the Ministry of Defense Defense operating in eastern Pyongyang were taken out of service. for two months for failing to carry out regular fumigations in accordance with regulations.

The source said that the central anti-epidemic emergency headquarters said during the inspection that “emergency anti-epidemic activities were directly related to the security of the homeland and the people,” warning that the complacent respect and lax emergency quarantine rules are “intolerable violations of legal order.”

Kim Jong Un on the leadership podium during the Party Foundation Day military parade in Pyongyang on October 10, 2020. / Image: KCNA

North Korea has focused on unit-level fumigations and quarantine efforts under the Emergency Quarantine Law, enacted as Order 369 by the Supreme People’s Congress Standing Committee on the 22nd. August of last year.

Another military source from North Hamgyong Province said the provincial branch of the Anti-Epidemic Emergency Central Headquarters carried out a week-long quarantine inspection at the military unit’s headquarters in early November. Organs, companies and groups found guilty of violating quarantine rules have been fined or closed.

In fact, the Ninth Corps Headquarters Visitor’s Quarters Restaurant in North Hamgyong Province was fined KPW 1 million for discharging unpurified sewage. Four logistics-related facilities were shut down for four months for lax fumigation and sanitation efforts, including a food warehouse owned by the body’s accounting section and a noodle factory.

North Korea continues to claim to be completely COVID-19 free, and the country has long severely cracked down on violations of the emergency quarantine law using martial law.

The country has kept the border closed since January last year, a drastic quarantine measure.

Under these conditions, the latest inspections aim to quickly bring the possible spread of COVID-19 under control and to highlight quarantine efforts in winter, when indoor activity increases. They are also seeking to put the military on high alert to step up quarantine efforts ahead of winter training, which begins from December 1.

One of the sources said that commanders of entities that violate emergency quarantine rules are demoted one or two ranks, while commanders or politicians of punished entities are reprimanded or removed from their posts for their irresponsibility or “anti-party attitudes.” These punishments were at the heart of an order issued by the Central Committee, he added.

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