London: A North Korean official was shot dead for going to a public bath while he was meant to be in quarantine for coronavirus, it was reported.
The UK newspaper, Metro said in a report on Thursday that the trade official was arrested and immediately executed after risking the spread of the deadly disease.
Sources said the official had been placed in isolation after travelling to China with the country’s leader Kim Jong-un.
The report said that the official was said to have ignored Kim’s threat to “rule by military law” against anyone who left quarantine without approval.
North Korea has not yet confirmed any cases of the virus, but has taken drastic measures to stop it spreading over its 880 mile-long border with China, the newspaper added.
The country has imposed an unconditional quarantine on anyone who has recently been to the neighbouring country, or has been in contact with Chinese people.
On Wednesday, Pyongyang announced that quarantines had been extended to 30 days, beyond the 14-day incubation period.
Government officials, citizens and foreigners living in North Korea were expected to obey it “unconditionally”.
Meanwhile, another official was said to have been exiled to a North Korean farm after trying to cover up his travels to China, the Metro newspaper report said.
He was reportedly a member of the country’s National Security Agency.
In a report, Pyongyang’s Korean Central News Agency said that North Korea’s Red Cross Society had been deployed to “relevant areas” around the country to monitor people with possible symptoms, including households in remote areas that are not easily reached.
“They are conducting information activities in various forms and by various methods at public places to introduce common medical knowledge about the epidemic and encourage people to give fuller play to the noble moral traits of helping and leading each other forward,” the agency added.