North Korea reported 21 deaths and almost 175,000 new cases of “fever” on Saturday amid the first outbreak of covid-19 in the country, which has ordered a national confinement due to the “explosive” spread of the virus.
According to the official KCNA agency, 174,440 new cases of fever were registered on Friday, 81,430 people cured and 21 deaths. This medium does not specify how many victims had tested positive for the coronavirus.
Experts attribute this lack of definition to the limited testing capacity of North Korea, which this week recognized its first cases of coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.
Triggered at the end of April, the outbreak has spread “explosively”, with more than half a million people affected by fever and almost thirty deaths.
“The total number of sick people across the country was 524,440, of which 234,630 had fully recovered and 288,810 were receiving treatment. The number of deaths so far is 27,” the KCNA agency said.
With its 25 million unvaccinated inhabitants and a shaky health system, the North Korean power ordered confinement measures throughout the country to try to contain the epidemic outbreak.
Its leader Kim Jong Un said on Friday that “the highest priority is to block the spread of the virus by actively closing areas and isolating and treating people with fever responsibly.”
For the second time this week, Kim convened the political bureau on an emergency basis, acknowledging that the outbreak was causing “major turmoil” in the communist country, KCNA reported.
After two years of self-imposed blockade with the outside world, which sank the economy and trade, North Korea announced on Thursday that several fever patients in the capital Pyongyang had tested positive for covid. On Friday, he noted the death of one of them.
State media attribute the deaths to “negligence, including drug overdose, due to lack of knowledge of scientific treatment methods.”
– China as an example –
At the meeting with the political leadership of the communist regime, Kim discussed “promptly distributing emergency medicine” and introducing “scientific tactics and treatment methods for different patients, including those with special characteristics,” KCNA said.
According to this information, the leader assured that he had “faith that we can overcome this malicious infectious disease in the shortest possible period.”
Experts point out that this isolated Asian nation, equipped with nuclear weapons, has one of the worst health systems in the world, with a lack of essential medicines and equipment.
Even more cut off from the world during the pandemic, North Korea has turned down offers of COVID-19 vaccines from China, Russia and the World Health Organization.
Kim assured that his administration will follow the example of health management of China, the only major world economy that maintains a strategy of eradicating the virus with severe border restrictions, confinements and massive tests.
“We should take lessons from the experiences and fruitful achievements in preventing the virus of the Communist Party of China and its people,” Kim said.
After almost two years keeping the virus at bay, the Asian giant is now experiencing multiple omicron outbreaks that have caused new confinements in large cities such as Shanghai, whose 25 million inhabitants have been almost totally locked up for weeks.