North Korea announces no new fever deaths, claims coronavirus outbreak is under control

Seoul, South Korea — North Korea said on Tuesday that there were no new deaths among domestic fever cases. This is the first time since marking the coronavirus outbreak almost two weeks ago. Related cases.

The wave of the virus, first declared by North Korea on May 12, fueled concerns about a vaccine shortage, insufficient health care infrastructure and a potential food crisis in 25 million North Koreans.

However, North Korea said the new fever deaths reported as of Monday evening are “successful” in preventing the spread of the virus, despite adding 134,510 new cases.

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Since North Korea announced the number of daily fever cases, there have been no new deaths for three days in a row, recording less than 200,000 a day, the Korean Central News Agency reported.

North Korea apparently lacked testing supplies, so it did not confirm the total number of people who tested positive for the coronavirus, but instead reported those with fever symptoms.

According to KCNA, since the end of April, the cumulative number of confirmed cases has risen to 2.95 million and the death toll has risen to 68.

“In just a few days since the maximum emergency quarantine system was put into operation, the nationwide morbidity and mortality rates have sharply decreased, and the number of recoveries has increased, effectively suppressing and controlling the spread of the epidemic and maintaining a clearly stable situation. “, said the Korean Central News Agency.

However, many analysts question the reliability of the figures as they show how difficult it is to assess the true scale of the coronavirus in isolated countries.

Christopher Green, a South Korean expert at Leiden University, said: “With inappropriate tests, serious outbreaks, cases, deaths, and low-administrative incentives to report whatever the high-level political motives are, we have stats that are essentially nonsense.” said. in the Netherlands, wrote on twitter.

North Korea says authorities are distributing food and medicines across the country and have deployed military medics to help distribute drugs and provide health checkups.

The Korean Central News Agency also said that North Korea was expanding production of essential medicines, but did not specify exactly what types were being produced.

South Korea and the United States have offered to help North Korea fight the pandemic, including vaccines, but North Korea has not responded.

Jinsoo Moon, associate professor at Seoul National University College of Medicine, said, “Statistically, the daily announcements do not meet international standards and seem to be aimed at domestic audiences.” .

The fatality rate of COVID-19 in Korea was 0.13% as of the 20th.

Earlier, the South Korean National Intelligence Service told lawmakers that the daily figures released by North Korea appear to include non-COVID-19 patients as many water-borne diseases were already prevalent in the country before North Korea announced the outbreak.

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