North Korea’s capital Pyongyang is witnessing an extreme shortage of essentials and groceries after people started panic buying food staples, as per the news service cited in the Bloomberg Quint report.

The panic buying by consumers came after reports emerged that stricter restrictions would be imposed in the national capital to contain the spread of the virus, NK News reported.

Shortages were initially limited to imported fruit and vegetables and then moved on to other goods, it said as cited in the Bloomberg Quint report.

Radio Free Asia also noted last week that there was an unchecked surge in the prices of food staples because of panic buying of food items.

The report came after North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un went to a cardiovascular surgery on April 8 and could still not be out of danger, a Taiwan local news claimed.

North Korea had closed its borders in January when coronavirus cases in neighbouring China began to skyrocket. Kim’s regime has said it has no confirmed infections from the virus but the U.S. is “fairly certain” it has cases because of a noticeable lack of military activity.

According to Bloomberg, food shortage is one of the biggest problems in North Korea, which is one of the world’s poorest states. In the 1990s, a famine killed as much as 10 per cent of the population, according to some estimates. The United Nations’ World Food Program predicted that the ramifications of the virus would make people starve in the developing nations.

The World Food Program WFP, which has operations in North Korea, maintained that around 40 per cent of the population in the country is undernourished.

North Korea, Kim Jong Un, Pyongyang, famine, starvation, panic buying, coronavirus, COVID-19

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