Primary and secondary schools in North Korea have been ordered to close and go on early summer holidays amid concerns of the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, according to Radio Free Asia’s Korean Service. The major move comes despite the secretive state claiming it is the only neighbour of China not to have reported a single case of COVID-19 since the outbreak.
The school year in North Korea usually begins in January or February, afterthe Lunar New Year.
But the start of the year was delayed and pushed back to June 1 due to the coronavirus crisis.
A Pyongyang resident told RFA: “In the aftermath of the coronavirus, schools here in Pyongyang have stopped classes and began early vacations.
“Students from the provinces who are attending Pyongyang No.1 Senior Middle School, are all returning home.
“Classes were being held as normal at Pyongyang No.1 Senior Middle School, but somehow school authorities suddenly ordered the students from the provinces to return home, saying that they were to be on vacation from July 1.”
The source said the move was taken as part of emergency measures to fight the coronavirus.
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They said: “If even the capital is not safe from the coronavirus, how can we believe in our socialist medical system that’s supposed to be superior to the rest of the world?“
“Unless the spread of the coronavirus stops, students will not be able to go back to school until early September.”
It comes after claims North Korea backtracked on plans to reopen border trade with Beijing over fears of new coronavirus cases in nearby northeastern Chinese provinces.
The move was despite North Korea’s economy being crippled by a halt in trade with China on top of US and UN sanctions designed to deter the regime from developing its missile programme.
A North Korean trade worker in the Chinese port city Dalian, said it was Kim Jong-Un North Korea who rejected opening the borders with China.