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North Korean can't use public transport without wearing masks

A woman with mask sits in a bus in Seoul

Seoul, March 19 (UITV/IANS)- North Korea has banned people from using public transportation without wearing masks as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus outbreak although the country was yet to report a case, state media reported Thursday.

North Korea has not reported any confirmed COVID-19 outbreak, but it has reportedly put thousands of people under medical supervision for potential infection and taken various preventive measures, including blocking its border and enforcing strict quarantines, reports the Seoul-based Yonhap News Agency.

The Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North's ruling party, published Pyongyang's latest guidelines for its citizens in using public transportation, which oblige passengers to wear masks and sanitize their hands before boarding trains, subways, buses and taxis.

People will also have to have their temperatures checked before using public transportation for long-distance travel, and if they show suspected symptoms, they should be barred from boarding, the paper said.

The daily further said that trains and buses were also required to install an area to be used to quarantine any passengers showing symptoms, while crew should keep their masks and gloves on and should not reuse the protective gear.

North Korea has taken a number of preventive measures as it shares a long and porous border with China, the epicenter of the contagious disease.

Meanwhile, South Korea on Thursday reported a total of 8,565 confirmed coronavirus cases, while 91 people have died of the diease.

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