North Korea has reported 15 deaths and nearly 300,000 new cases of fever as the COVID outbreak spreads

North Korea said on Sunday that a total of 42 people have died as the country began its fourth day under a nationwide lockdown aimed at halting the first confirmed spread of Covid-19 in the impoverished country.

The outlet said at least 296,180 people had developed symptoms of fever and 15 more had died as of Sunday.

North Korea Admission on Thursday It is battling an “explosive” Covid-19 outbreak that has raised fears that the virus could devastate a country with a under-resourced health system, limited testing capabilities and a lack of a vaccine programme.

The official Central News Agency said the country was taking “quick emergency measures” to control the epidemic, but there was no indication that Pyongyang was moving to accept international offers of vaccines.

“All counties, cities and counties in the country are completely closed, work units, production units and residential units have been closed to each other since the morning of May 12, and all people are being rigorously and extensively examined,” the Korean Central News Agency reported. Sunday.

The day before, the leader of North Korea Kim Jong-un He said the spread of Covid-19 had pushed his country into “great turmoil” and called for an all-out battle to beat the outbreak.

Despite the lockdown, Kim and other senior officials on Saturday attended the funeral of Yang Hyung Sop, the former de facto head of state during the rule of Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il, the Korean Central News Agency reported.

Health authorities have set up more epidemic prevention centers and urgently transferred medical supplies to hospitals and clinics, while senior officials donated spare medicines, the Korean Central News Agency reported.

The report said a “significant proportion” of deaths were due to “neglected medication due to a lack of knowledge and understanding of Omicron variant virus infection and the correct treatment method.”

On Saturday evening, the Korean Central Television broadcasted a treatment for fever. A doctor at Kimanyu Hospital suggested “gargling with salt water” and taking various medications in case of high fever, headache, muscle and joint pain.

The Korean Central News Agency also suggested drinking Lonicera japonica Tea or willow leaf tea three times a day.

Experts say North Korea appears to lack the ability to test tens of thousands of symptomatic patients. The Korean Central News Agency has not reported the number of suspected cases that have tested positive for Covid-19.

Overall, North Korea has reported 820,620 suspected cases, and 324,550 are still under medical treatment, the Korean Central News Agency said.

North Korea has not previously reported any confirmed cases of the virus, and is one of only two countries in the world that has not yet started a COVID vaccination campaign, according to the World Health Organization.

Aid groups said the self-imposed lockdowns have slowed trade significantly and raised concerns about food shortages or other hardships.