Masked people walk in front of Pyongyang Station on April 27, 2020, amid concerns over the new coronavirus.

Kyodo News via Getty Images

North Korea has implemented a number of measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, though its claims of zero cases and fatalities is highly unlikely.

The government has halted tourism and shut down most of its border, though trade with China has continued.

Photos from inside the country in recent weeks show residents and workers taking precautions such as wearing masks and gloves.

But images of cramped classrooms and government meetings show challenges in implementing social-distancing measures, and experts have noted that the country lacks a healthcare infrastructure to combat a pandemic.

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Like most countries around the world, North Korea has taken a number of drastic measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

The Hermit Kingdom has so far reported zero cases and zero fatalities, though it’s unlikely that’s actually true.

Photos from inside the country in recent weeks show masked residents and workers, temperature checks, and efforts to disinfect imported goods and public transportation.

Amid the lockdown, speculation has also run rampant regarding the whereabouts of the country’s leader Kim Jong Un, who hasn’t been seen in public since April 11.

Here’s what life inside North Korea looks like as the country battles the outbreak.

North Korea’s government acted early to slow the spread of the coronavirus, and appears to have taken the threat seriously.

People wearing face masks cross a road in front of the Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea Tuesday, April 28, 2020.

Associated Press/Cha Song Ho

Source: Reuters

First, it suspended foreign tourism in late January.

A man walks his bicycle at the Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea, Thursday, April 30, 2020.

Associated Press/Cha Song Ho

Source: 38 North

The country also said it quarantined 10,000 of its citizens and all of its diplomats.

Students wearing face masks disinfect their hands and undergo a temperature check as they arrive for a lecture on preventative measures against the COVID-19 novel coronavirus at the Pyongyang University of Medicine in Pyongyang on April 22, 2020.

Kim Won Jin/AFP via Getty Images

Source: The New York Times

In February, it closed down its 880-mile border with China almost entirely.

A tourist uses binoculars to look across to North Korea from a tower built on the Chinese side of the border between Russia (L), China (C) and North Korea (R) near the town of Hunchun in China, November 24, 2017.

Reuters/Damir Sagolj

Source: 38 North

Despite the measures, and images of masks and disinfectant, experts have remained highly skeptical of North Korea’s ability to contain an outbreak — decades of sanctions and widespread poverty have gutted the country’s healthcare infrastructure.

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A general view shows North Korean people working in fields in the countryside outside Kaesong, seen across the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) from the South Korean island of Ganghwa on April 23, 2020.

Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images

Sources: The New York Times, Business Insider

Chinese authorities even warned residents in border cities not to stray too close to North Korea, lest they be shot by North Korean guards.

A sign reading, “Take the initiative to preserve order along the border,” stands in a field at the border between China and North Korea just outside Dandong, Liaoning province, China, November 19, 2017.

Reuters/Damir Sagol

Source: Reuters

“We’re told that we may get killed if we get too close to the border area,” one restaurant owner in Jian, China, told Reuters.

In this Aug. 29, 2017 photo, North Korean soldiers seen working on a fence along the banks of North Korea across from the Chinese border town of Jian in northeastern China’s Jilin province.

Associated Press/Ng Han Guan

But international curiosity about North Korea has remained, and South Koreans are still flocking to their northern border to catch a glimpse of the mysterious country.

Visitors wearing face masks as a precaution against the new coronavirus, look on the northern side at the Imjingak Pavilion in Paju, South Korea, on Sunday, April 26, 2020.

Associated Press/Lee Jin Man

North Korea’s economy relies on China for trade, and it didn’t close off imports and exports entirely — but it did implement strict new disinfectant guidelines for imported goods.

In this Feb. 1, 2020, file photo, State Commission of Quality Management staff member in protective gear carries a disinfectant pray can as they continue to check the health of travelers in foreign countries and inspect and quarantine goods being delivered via the borders at the Pyongyang Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea.

Associated Press/Jon Chol Jin

Source: Yonhap News Agency

Photos from inside the country in recent weeks have shown North Korean residents and workers taking precautions, wearing masks and gloves.

Workers at the Ryugyong Kimchi Factory produce kimchi at the Ryugyong Kimchi Factory in Pyongyang, on Friday, April 24, 2020.

Associated Press/Jon Chol Jin

Healthcare workers have been seen educating North Koreans about coronavirus symptoms and prevention measures.

A nurse explains details about the COVID 19 and ways to prevent contracting it at the Phyongchon District People’s Hospital Wednesday, April 1, 2020, Pyongyang, North Korea.

Associated Press/Jon Chol Jin

A university in Pyongyang, the nation’s capital, implemented temperature checks before allowing students back on campus after a vacation.

A student wearing a face mask has his temperature checked as a precaution against a new coronavirus as their university reopened following vacation, at Kim Chaek University of Technology in Pyongyang, Wednesday, April 22, 2020.

Associated Press/Jon Chol Jin

Photos from the university’s classrooms showed the students wearing face masks during lessons, though they appeared to be sitting close together instead of the recommended six feet apart.

Students wearing face masks attend class as their university reopened following vacation, at Kim Chaek University of Technology in Pyongyang, Wednesday, April 22, 2020.

Associated Press/Jon Chol Jin

The students could also be seen cleaning their classrooms before taking their seats.

Students clean their room before a class at the Pyongyang University of Foreign Studies in the North Korean capital on April 22, 2020, amid concerns over the new coronavirus.

Kyodo News via Getty Images

The country’s most important holiday on April 15 still drew crowds to commemorate the birthday of Kim Il Sung, North Korea’s founder and Kim Jong Un’s grandfather.

People visit the Mansu Hill to lay flowers to the bronze statues of late leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il on the occasion of the 108th birth anniversary of Kim Il Sung in Pyongyang, North Korea Wednesday, April 15, 2020.

Associated Press/Jon Chol Jin

Citizens donned face masks to lay flowers near the statues of Kim Il Sung, and the former leader Kim Jong Il.

A man lays flowers in front of the bronze statues of late leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il on the occasion of the 108th birth anniversary of Kim Il Sung in Pyongyang, North Korea Wednesday, April 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Cha Song Ho)

Associated Press/Cha Song Ho

North Korea has claimed the country has no coronavirus cases, and no fatalities. That’s almost impossible to believe, experts have said, due to its extensive and ongoing trade with China, the former epicenter of the virus.

In this April 1, 2020, file photo, pedestrians wear face masks to help prevent the spread of the new coronavirus in Pyongyang, North Korea.

Associated Press/Cha Song Ho

Source: 38 North

North Korea experts have also noted that a huge swath of the population suffers from conditions like malnutrition and disease — prime conditions for the outbreak to spread.

A general view shows fields and buildings of the North Korean countryside outside Kaesong, seen across the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) from the South Korean island of Ganghwa on April 23, 2020.

Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images

Source: 38 North

Rural communities are particularly vulnerable to poverty and a lack of healthcare resources.

A general view shows fields and buildings of the North Korean countryside outside Kaesong, seen across the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) from the South Korean island of Ganghwa on April 23, 2020.

Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images

The World Health Organization said it was receiving weekly updates from North Korea, and had sent testing kits and protective equipment to the country. But as of early April, no positive cases had been reported.

Students wearing face masks disinfect their hands and undergo a temperature check as they arrive for a lecture on preventative measures against the COVID-19 novel coronavirus at the Pyongyang University of Medicine in Pyongyang on April 22, 2020.

Kim Won Jin/AFP via Getty Images

Source: Reuters

North Korea’s state-run media has reported that the government has called for stricter coronavirus measures, though photos of a parliamentary meeting revealed that none of the top officials — including Kim Jong Un — were wearing masks or keeping a safe distance from one another.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un takes part in a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) in this image released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 11, 2020.

KCNA via Reuters

Source: AFP

The country’s secrecy around its likely coronavirus outbreak isn’t unusual — the government has also tried to conceal the fact that Kim Jong Un hasn’t been seen in weeks.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un takes part in a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) in this image released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 11, 2020.

KCNA via Reuters

Rumors have run rampant that the leader could be gravely ill after a surgery, or hiding from the coronavirus. Satellite images have since revealed a number of signs that Kim could be staying in a resort town, but the mystery will likely remain until Kim reappears.

What is described by Washington-based North Korea monitoring project 38 North as a special train possibly belonging to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is seen in a satellite image with graphics taken over Wonsan, North Korea April 21, 2020.

Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies-38 North/Handout via REUTERS.

Source: Business Insider, 38 North

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