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The official North Korean news agency said on Friday that the Covid-19, the first cases of which were reported on Thursday, had its first death and spread “throughout the country”. None of the 25 million inhabitants is vaccinated against the virus.
North Korea announced Friday, May 13 its first death from Covid-19, stating that more than 187,000 people with fever were “isolated and treated” and that the virus had already spread “throughout the country”.
The official KCNA news agency said leader Kim Jong-un visited the national epidemic prevention headquarters and “learned about the spread of Covid-19 throughout the country”.
“A fever whose cause could not be identified spread explosively throughout the country from the end of April,” she said. Six people with “fever” have died in the country, including one who tested positive for Omicron’s BA.2 subvariant, she said.
The reclusive country reported its first-ever Covid cases on Thursday, saying North Korea was moving into “maximum emergency epidemic prevention” mode.
“On May 12 alone, some 18,000 people had a fever across the country and, at present, 187,800 people are isolated and treated”, according to the same source.
No inhabitant vaccinated
None of the 25 million population is vaccinated against the coronavirus, with Pyongyang having rejected vaccination offers from the WHO, China and Russia.
On Thursday, Kim Jong-un chaired an emergency political bureau meeting on the epidemic situation and ordered containment measures to try to stem the spread of the virus.
“This is the most important challenge and the most important task facing our Party to quickly reverse this health crisis situation,” KCNA added.
North Korea has long boasted of its ability to keep the virus at bay, and had not reported a single confirmed case of Covid-19 to the World Health Organization.
Covid may have already spread across the country, analysts say, including major events in April in Pyongyang, including a military parade in which neither participants nor spectators wore masks.