The DPRK’s COVID-19 Outbreak and its Response
Pandemic-Nuclear-Nexus Project

The DPRK’s COVID-19 Outbreak and its Response

In response to large-scale epidemic threats such as SARS, measles, swine flu, Ebola and MERS, the DPRK imposed strict measures including border blocking, strengthening disinfection, and enhanced quarantine measures. The COVID-19 pandemic has more severely affected the regime given the lack of help in the early stages of the pandemic, UN-US sanctions blocking quarantine supplies, and Pyongyang refusing help from Seoul. Despite the challenging circumstances, the DPRK’s strongly centralized state and systematic anti-epidemic structure, active and prompt decision-making, strict enforcement and systematic and extensive propaganda activities have, for now, been able to keep the situation under control. But the pandemic cannot be addressed by one country alone. To effectively respond to the pandemic more must be done. This special Report by Professor Shin Young-jeon assesses how the DPRK was impacted by COVID-19, evaluates its response to the pandemic, and offers a range of policy recommendations for the two Koreas and the international community.


Covid-19 response, DPRK, South Korea, China, Inter-Korean relations, quarantine, case-surveillance, food security

About the Author

Young-jeon SHIN is a professor at the Department of Preventive Medicine at Hanyang University School of Medicine, Seoul Korea. He is the Chief Editor of Health and Social Welfare Review and a Board Member of the Academy of Critical Health Policy and the Korean Association of Preventive Medicine.

Click on the adjacent link to download the full report.

The report is published simultaneously by RECNA here, and Nautilus Institute here.