North Korea has implemented strict measures to check the spread of Coronavirus. This has hurt a section of the population. Most of them are foreign diplomats and NGO workers. The Russian Embassy in North Korea says a large number of them fled from the country. They cite food shortages and a lack of medical aid as the main reasons. The Russian embassy mentioned through a social media platform about the situation. It said the exodus is the result of various factors. These include the non-availability of basic goods, including medical aid. It seems the coronavirus restrictions in North Korea have added to the problems of the foreigners.

They are worried about the deteriorating condition of necessities for survival. In May 2019, there were reports of food shortages in North Korea due to severe drought.

Indian Express quotes the Russian embassy that says, “There are only 290 expatriates in North Korea including nine ambassadors and four charge d’affaires.” It adds that many of those who work with NGOs and are associated with humanitarian aid organizations already left the hermit kingdom. Apart from Russia, other countries have also closed down their embassies. These are Britain, Brazil, and Germany. Even the United Nations has removed its staff.

Borders of the North sealed to prevent the spread of coronavirus

North Korea shares its border with China.

Soon after coronavirus emerged, the North took urgent measures to seal the borders. That was in January 2020, and it hurt the regime because China is its ally and business partner. The closure of the border probably helped it to control the spread but affected its economy. North Korea shut its border with China to prevent the entry of coronavirus, and the move backfired.

The regime is under UN sanctions because of its programs related to nuclear weapons. It could breathe easy if it abandoned them. That would help it get relief from sanctions and stabilize its economy. Indian Express adds a large number of foreign diplomats and aid workers left the country. In fact, in February 2021, one of the diplomats used a railway trolley to leave the North.

He was a Russian diplomat accompanied by his family.

Not too bright future for North Korea

Indian Express adds that the Russian Ambassador to North Korea revealed the shortage of grocery stores. This began after Pyongyang decided to stop imports in September. That dealt a blow to the country and its already weak economy. This is something that leaders of the North realize, but they have not admitted to food shortages. Incidentally, a researcher of Human Rights Watch mentions this aspect. It seems the trade between the North and China has plunged by about 80 percent. Moreover, food and medicine import has plummeted because the government claims trading with China could lead to infections. Besides, floods have also affected agricultural production.

The combined effect of these situations does not paint a bright future for North Korea.

Miserable life in the North for outsiders

According to Reuters, outsiders who have to live in the North due to various reasons are leading miserable lives. Russian diplomats positioned in the country complained of an acute shortage of essential items like medicines. The pandemic restrictions on Travel and life, in general, were unprecedented in their severity. The North imposed crippling border closures to combat the pandemic. It also imposed a ban on international travel and restricted movement within its boundaries. Most of the diplomatic missions have drastically reduced their staff. Obviously, the regime is more worried about its own people's well-being than those attached with diplomatic missions. In April 2020, the North claimed to have escaped from the clutches of coronavirus.