In North Korea, 350,000 people fell ill with a “fever of unknown origin.” COVID-19 is raging in the country

The head of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, held an urgent meeting on this issue, where he stressed that “there are shortcomings in the already established anti-epidemic system.” Six deaths have also been reported in patients with COVID-19, including a person who was diagnosed with the Omicron strain.

“On May 12 alone, about 18,000 people were diagnosed with a fever throughout the country. At the moment, up to 187,800 people are isolated and undergoing treatment,” the KCNA statement says.

Yonhap notes that it is not entirely clear what is behind such “openness” of one of the most closed countries in the world. Reports of an “explosive” increase in the incidence appeared before US President Joe Biden’s visit to South Korea, Korean media write.

Seoul and Washington have already expressed their willingness to provide Pyongyang with coronavirus-related aid packages, including vaccines and medical supplies. If this is implemented, observers say, it will be possible to create the right mood for the resumption of dialogue. The publication notes that problems with the “fever” in the DPRK could intensify after the military parade held in late April.

Yonhap reported the first case of COVID-19 in North Korea on May 12. It was noted that the tests were taken from the patient on May 8, he was diagnosed with the Omicron strain. After that, the country announced the launch of a virus control system under conditions of a “maximum emergency”. Kim Jong-un urged to prevent the spread of infection and strengthen border controls.

  • Since the beginning of the pandemic, the DPRK authorities have never officially reported cases of COVID-19 infection in the country. In addition, the republic closed all borders in early 2020 and imposed restrictions on movement within the country as part of the fight against the spread of infection.

  • In February 2020, North Korea suspended rail links with Russia, embassies of other states began to close, and diplomats began to leave the country. In addition, Pyongyang refused to participate in the Tokyo 2021 Summer Olympics due to the COVID-19 situation.

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