Seoul: Barefoot and blond, Swedish Ambassador Joachim Bergstrom makes an unlikely sight in North Korea’s capital, Pyongyang, as he practises yoga poses near some of its most iconic landmarks.
One of the few Western diplomats who has not evacuated from North Korea amid coronavirus restrictions, Bergstrom has relied on yoga to endure the deepening sense of isolation. Bergstrom, who has been in North Korea as an ambassador since September 2019, came prepared to use the exercise regime as a way to stay healthy and unwind in a country where foreigners and residents are under constant restrictions.
But the sense of isolation deepened when the coronavirus began to spread in neighbouring China in January, prompting North Korea to shut its borders, cancel most flights and train services, and send foreign residents into more than a month of quarantine.
North Korea says it has zero confirmed cases of the coronavirus, but has taken significant measures to prevent the spread of the disease.