Coronavirus: North Korea on alert over first suspected COVID-19 case
Whoever doesn’t wear a mask will be punished with more than three months of disciplinary labour, regardless of who they are, said a North Korean official.
North Korea has reported what it describes as the country's first suspected case of coronavirus
State media said a person who defected to South Korea three years ago last week returned across the demarcation line with COVID-19 symptoms.
Leader Kim Jong-un held an emergency meeting with top officials, imposing a lockdown in the border city of Kaesong.
North Korea, a secretive state, had previously not reported any virus cases - but analysts said this was unlikely.
"An emergency event happened in Kaesong city where a runaway who went to the south three years ago - a person who is suspected to have been infected with the vicious virus - returned on 19 July after illegally crossing the demarcation line," news agency KCNA said.
Meanwhile, North Koreans will reportedly be subjected to three months of hard labour for not wearing COVID-19 face masks under tough new rules.
The new measures are part of a push to stop the spread of coronavirus in the secretive country.
Students will be recruited to carry out 'face mask patrols' to ensure people are wearing the facial coverings, officials in the country told Radio Free Asia.
Those who are found without a face mask will have to undergo three months of 'disciplinary labour'.