North Korea reports six obvious deaths "explosive" Corona outbreak

Korea, Seoul — The fever that has spread “explosively” across North Korea has killed six people and received treatment for 350,000 people, state media said Friday. Acknowledgment of COVID-19 outbreak for the first time at global epidemic of infectious diseases.

North Korea said there was likely not enough COVID-19 testing and other medical equipment, and that it did not know the cause of the cluster fever. However, large-scale COVID-19 outbreaks could be devastating in countries where health care systems are collapsing and there are unvaccinated and malnourished populations.

North Korea’s state-run KCNA reported that 162,200 of the 350,000 people who have had a fever since the end of April have recovered. On Thursday alone, 18,000 new cases of fever were reported and 187,800 people were quarantined for treatment.

According to KCNA, 1 out of 6 deaths was confirmed to be infected with the omicron strain, but it was not immediately confirmed how many people were infected with COVID-19 among all diseases.

North Korea A nationwide lockdown was implemented on Thursday after confirming the first COVID-19 case. According to the report, an unspecified number of people tested positive for the omicron mutation.

As an isolated North Korea is extremely proud and sensitive to external perceptions of a self-proclaimed ‘socialist utopia’, it is unusual to admit the outbreak of an epidemic, let alone an epidemic as threatening as COVID-19.

While he has occasionally spoken candidly about the deterioration of the economy and other issues in recent years, Kim has repeatedly expressed confidence in North Korea’s response to the pandemic and is seen publicly wearing a mask until Thursday’s ruling party meeting, when North Korea announced the coronavirus. could not see -19 infection.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un inspects the National Emergency Response Headquarters while the first case of the novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19) was reported in North Korea.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un inspects the National Emergency Quarantine Headquarters in Pyongyang, North Korea, on May 12, 2022, when the first case of the novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19) was reported, the Korean Central News Agency reported. Korea Central News Agency (KCNA).

Chosun Central News Agency via Reuters

It is possible that the spread of the virus accelerated during a large-scale parade held in Pyongyang on April 25. During the parade, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un took center stage and presented the most powerful missile of his military nuclear program in front of tens of thousands of people.

Video of the parade, aired on state television, showed thousands of unmasked people who were not practicing social distancing crammed into Pyongyang’s Kim Il-sung Square to receive them, AFP noted.

Seong-chang Jeong, an analyst at the Sejong Institute in South Korea, said the rate at which the fever spreads could mean that the crisis could last for months, and possibly into 2023, and could wreak havoc in a poorly equipped South Korea.

“Holding a mass parade at a time when Omicron is outraged in neighboring China shows Pyongyang overconfidence in its ability to fight and prevent the virus,” he told AFP.

Hong Min, a researcher at the Korea Institute for National Unification, told a news service on the same day, “Corona 19 is closely related to the April 25th parade.”

“Two months before the event, about 20,000 people prepared for the military parade and stayed in the capital to take a photo with Chairman Kim Jong-un,” he said.

Will Pyongyang accept outside help?

Some experts say that North Korea’s first announcement means it is willing to receive external support.

North Korea evaded millions of vaccinations last year from the UN-funded COVAX distribution program, including doses of AstraZeneca and China’s Sinovac vaccines. The country lacks the cryogenic storage systems needed for mRNA vaccines, such as those made by Pfizer and Moderna.

South Korea’s new conservative presidential office, Yoon Seok-yeol, who is starting a five-year single term, said the government is willing to provide vaccines and other medical supplies to North Korea and hopes to discuss specific plans with the North.

“The South Korean government cannot immediately predict the amount of vaccine it can provide to North Korea if North Korea asks for help,” said Boo Seung-chan, spokesperson for inter-Korean affairs at the Ministry of Unification.

Relations between the two Koreas have deteriorated over the past three years as massive nuclear negotiations between the US and Pyongyang derailed due to a disagreement over exchanging North Korea’s disarmament measures for severe US-led lifting of sanctions have stalled.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhao Lijian said on Thursday that China is providing aid to North Korea in its fight against the coronavirus.

“As a comrade, neighbor and friend, China is ready to fully support and support North Korea in the fight against the epidemic,” Prime Minister Zhao told reporters. South Korea.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said North Korea’s evasion of the COVAX vaccine, saying the US supports international relief efforts but has no plans to share vaccine supplies with North Korea.

“We continue to support international efforts to provide critical humanitarian aid to the most vulnerable people of North Korea, which is, of course, a wider part of North Korea’s exploitation of its own people by not accepting this type of aid,” Psaki said in Washington on Thursday. said.

“It’s not just a vaccine. It’s also a range of humanitarian aid that can be of great help to people and countries. Instead, it can divert resources to build illicit nuclear and ballistic missile programs.”

Kim already pointing a finger

The Korean Central News Agency said that when Chairman Kim visited the Emergency Quarantine Countermeasure Headquarters on the 30th, he was reported to have developed a fever.

He stressed that the spread of the fever is centered on the capital, Pyongyang, and it is important to isolate all workplaces and residential units from each other while providing all amenities to residents during the lockdown period.

The Korean Central News Agency quoted Chairman Kim as saying, “The most important challenge and the highest task facing our Party is to reverse the current public health crisis as soon as possible, restore stability in quarantine and protect the health and well-being of our people.”

North Korea’s claim that it completely contained the virus for two and a half years was widely questioned. However, it was thought to have avoided large-scale outbreaks so far, in part because it introduced strict virus controls from the beginning of the pandemic.

Strict border closures and other measures have further dented an economy already damaged by decades of mismanagement and helpless US-led sanctions over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, putting Kim Jong-un in perhaps his most difficult moment in power.

A few hours after North Korea confirmed the outbreak of novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19) Fires three short-range ballistic missiles towards the sea It may have meant a show of power. This is North Korea’s 16th missile launch this year.


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