Russian Ambassador to DPRK Interviews with Rossiskaya Gazeta
Korean Central News Agency of DPRK
Pyongyang, August 26 (KCNA) -- Alexandr Matsegora, Russian ambassador to the DPRK, had an interview with a journalist of the Rossiskaya Gazeta, the government organ of the Russian Federation, on August 19.
The ambassador said:
At the National Meeting of Reviewing the Emergency Anti-epidemic Work held on August 10, leader of the DPRK Kim Jong Un solemnly declared that the spread of the novel coronavirus infection that started at the end of April was over.
Before the Omicron variant infiltrated into this country through the anti-epidemic barrier and the first infected case occurred, the DPRK was the only country with no virus in the world. Such remarkable successes could be achieved by all powerful and possible restricted measures and complete blockade of boundaries.
For a few days recently, we have witnessed the facts that the system of wearing face-masks, distancing for epidemic prevention, limited measures for the operation system of public catering establishment, ban of group gathering, etc. were abolished.
Departing from the capital city is allowed and the travel to all the resorts and scenic spots across the country is possible except the places located in boundaries and frontline areas.
In Rason located in the northern part of the DPRK, our experts have come to enjoy a sea bathing and angling.
The above-said meeting repeatedly stressed that the anti-epidemic system enforced in the DPRK will be maintained until the world pandemic was over, and only its grade lowered. In this connection, some restricted measures come in force.
For example, body temperature is still now measured at public places and the disinfection is conducted across the country, and handshaking is forbidden. Entry into the country is banned yet.
I don't understand. If infected cases were reported in 2020 and 2021, for what did the leadership of the DPRK hide the fact? As this year's cases show, the occurrence of 10 000 infected cases leads to a massive infection. As a result, the fact cannot be covered up.
Our embassy has watched the situation in the whole period very closely. I affirm that until the end of April there was no sign of the inroads of COVID-19 into this country.
I asked my Korean friends about a secret pf the mortality of an all-time low (0.0016 percent!).
They don't deny that the health system of their country remains very backward. They told me that there are various secrets of such an amazing success, but all this has its origin in the high organizing ability, the sense of discipline, clear and detailed resolution-making, a well-organized informing system, the spirit of unconditionally implementing instructions and high consciousness, that are the features peculiar to the Korean-style socialism of Juche.
A day after DPRK scholars confirmed that novel coronavirus made the inroads into their country and the state switched over to the emergency system, the Party, army, economic, administrative, judicial and social organs were mobilized to overcome the crisis.
All the areas were closed tightly and all the movements of people were stopped totally.
The members of institutions were switched to blockade, special traffic means to go to work were allotted for workers, and people were allowed to get out in an unavoidable case only.
Medical workers in charge of households, army medics dispatched to help them, and students of universities of medicine visited all the families several times a day to locate infected cases.
Those with abnormal symptoms had to inform the heads of people's neighborhood units of their symptoms. And then they reported their symptoms to the local anti-epidemic headquarters.
The flats and apartment buildings where cases occurred were immediately blockaded and only the medics supplying medicines in anti-epidemic clothes were allowed to enter them.
Special mobile service teams supplied foodstuff to the quarantined families.
The overall pharmaceutical science and pharmaceutical industry sector switched over to developing antiviral medicines and ones for recovery based on the checkup system, Koryo medicine, etc.
The army was in charge of the supply of medicines to the pharmacies which were open day and night.
The leader of the country gave an instruction to relieve the material reserve of the state needed for overcoming the crisis.
To speak in general, the lives of people could be saved as only one infected case was located and treated immediately.
A member of the embassy was also infected by stealth omicron virus variant BA.2 which made the inroads into the DPRK.
What is to be emphasized is that almost of infected cases underwent the epidemic disease very lightly.
It must be related with the national good ecological environment and local foodstuffs.
Living in Pyongyang for 30 years, I had many friends.
There is no death among them and their families and relatives.
It is a heinous hypocrisy. The right to existence is the most important one of human being. When hundreds of thousands of people died in other countries owing to the malignant virus, the DPRK had ensured the above-said right despite the spread of the epidemic. I am very surprised at this.
Of course, there were mistakes. The DPRK leadership made public to them. One of the biggest mistakes was that the DPRK failed to detect the novel coronavirus in good time and rapidly take a measure for locking down the area where the first infected case was reported. It did not establish a full checkup system and confirm treatment methods.
As there were not the treatment methods, the dead occurred. It was necessary to correct the situation and modify a series of methods. This brought about a due result.
The DPRK regards that the novel coronavirus can spread through objects.
When Korean friends met me, they quoted field experts and foreign prestigious scholars as saying to prove their stand.
In order to block such inroad channels, facilities for disinfecting goods from other countries and leaving them as they are for three months were established in every border passing spot and harbor. This is a labor-consuming and high-priced process.
What should be considered in addition is that only the most necessary goods are being transported to the DPRK.
If the commodity circulation was restored to the scale before the crisis, a problem of creating a large-scale capacity of leaving them as they are would present itself. This is impossible.
So, imports were limited owing to the misgivings about the novel coronavirus, which had a very negative influence on economy and the situation of commodity markets and price.
I talk about all the facts clearly.
The DPRK leadership does not think that it should throw the blame on south Korea.
The DPRK is absolutely convinced of its justice and taking all measures to make sure that people do not contact with unsafe goods even though it experiences the economic loss.
A special investigation team was organized in the DPRK to clarify the outbreak of the epidemic, according to the decision of the State Emergency Epidemic Prevention Headquarters.
The final report made by excellent experts, scholars and investigation experts presented clear evidence that the first infected persons were a soldier and a child in a forefront area and they contacted with leaflets and other objects from south Korea.
It is said that objects from south Korea by balloons and drones dropped near barracks in Kumgang County, Kangwon Province about 10 km away from the demilitarized zone.
I informed my Korean friends of the opinion of foreign experts that the virus might make inroads into the country from China. The Korean friends showed me the daily data of infected cases in areas.
According to the data, the epidemic occurred in the northern areas of the DPRK at the last time and the number of the infected cases was far less than the number in the southern areas where persons infected with COVID-19 were reported for the first time.
It should be said that Pyongyang understood that the result of the work of the investigation group would arouse a furious reaction from south Korea. South Korea will deny everything and start to denounce the DPRK for disallowing another leaflet-scattering through any methods.
Finally, the situation on the Korean Peninsula will be further aggravated with the issue of COVID-19 as a momentum.
The DPRK did not want such development of the situation. Accordingly, the fact data obtained in the course of the investigation were examined and re-examined for several times.
To be regret, it was confirmed with no doubt that COVID-19 made the inroads into the country from south Korea.
The DPRK people agree with the fact that the probability of virus infection through objects is very low. But there is such probability! The danger of infection increases by several times in case tens of thousands of leaflets and bank notes are scattered on the DPRK.
I very carefully approach the remarks of Kim Yo Jong, vice director of the Information and Publicity Department of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea. The DPRK compares such act of south Korea with the use of biochemical weapon.
I am sure that south Korea will continue to deny any connection between leaflet-scattering by "defectors from the north" and COVID-19.
However, why doesn't it consider the serious concern of the DPRK leadership?
In my opinion, it is very reasonable to consider such concern.
At a complicated time like now, Seoul will not tolerate new provocations like leaflet-scattering but send a strong signal to Pyongyang that it is ready for lending an ear to the other party's concern.
This will be the first step for preventing the tensions on the Korean Peninsula and normalizing the north-south relations.
But south Korea should try to ensure peaceful coexistence though it doesn't realize the normalization of such relations.
Kim Yo Jong proposed south Korea to act on the principle that let each side mind its own business.
Such principle is the very reasonable proposal under the present troublesome situation, I think. -0-
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