With the onset of the Corona virus, North Korea has completely shut itself off from the rest of the world. North Koreans in other countries were caught up in it. After more than three years, they are now allowed to return to their homeland.
North Korea has lifted a ban on the return of its own citizens stranded outside their homeland during the coronavirus pandemic. “Citizens abroad will be allowed to return home,” the KCNA news agency said.
“Relaxed Global Pandemic Situation”
The decision was taken against the backdrop of a “relaxed global pandemic situation”. According to a report by the state control body, the returnees will be kept in quarantine stations under medical observation for a week. It is not known how many people have been affected.
The country was already in international isolation before the corona pandemic, and there was no travel to and from North Korea. By early 2020, the country had shut itself down completely. Only private freight trains to China will resume from September 2022 – North Korea is economically dependent on its neighbour. Visitors to South Korea, especially diplomats, workers and students, now feel they will benefit from the new regulation.
First scheduled flight to Beijing
Despite the quarantine, the coronavirus spread to North Korea, and the country recorded its first death in May 2022. It is unclear how severe the impact of the epidemic was, as the authoritarian regime suppresses all free reporting. However, the few reports that do exist show that the consequences are huge – especially since the poor country has a very poor health system.
Lately there have been increasing signs of an opening. In July, Chinese and Russian officials participated in a large military parade in the capital, Pyongyang. They are the first foreign dignitaries to be seen in the country in many years. Last week, North Korean officials also approved a taekwondo team to compete in Kazakhstan.
The first scheduled flight from North Korea in more than three years landed in Beijing on Tuesday. South Korean news agency Yonhap reported from Beijing that scores of North Koreans stopped at the Air Koryo check-in counter at the capital’s airport to board a flight back to Pyongyang.
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