North Korea: Kim Jong Un declares Covid-19 a ‘great disaster’

North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, has declared the country’s first outbreak of Covid-19 a “big disaster” with 21 more deaths reported.

174,440 people were found to have symptoms of fever on Friday alone, state media said, as the country seeks to slow the spread of Covid-19 among its unvaccinated population.

North Korea said on Saturday that 27 people had died and 524,440 became ill, amid a rapid outbreak of the fever since late April. It said 280,810 people are still in quarantine.

State media did not specifically mention the number of fever cases and deaths that were confirmed as Covid-19 cases.

During a meeting on anti-virus strategies on Saturday, Kim described the outbreak as a historical “big disruption” and called for unity between the government and the people to stabilize the outbreak as soon as possible.

The meeting discussed the “immediate distribution of emergency medicines” and the introduction of “scientific treatment methods and treatment methods for various patients, including those with special constitutions,” the Korean Central News Agency reported.

The report added that Kim said he “believes in our ability to defeat this virulent, infectious disease in the shortest possible time.”

imposed country Nationwide lockdowns on Thursday After confirming the first cases of Covid-19 since the beginning of the epidemic.

Kim said they will follow the Chinese model for virus prevention.

“We must learn lessons from the experiences and fruitful achievements in the prevention of the virus of the Communist Party of China and its people,” he said.

And state media said that tests of virus samples collected on Sunday from an unspecified number of people with fever in the country’s capital, Pyongyang, confirmed they had the omicron formula. The country has so far officially confirmed one death linked to omicron infection.

Experts say a failure to control the spread of Covid could have dire consequences in North Korea, given the country’s poor healthcare system and its population of 26 million largely unvaccinated.

North Korea has so far avoided offers of Covid vaccines from China and Russia, and via the World Health Organization’s Covax scheme, apparently because giving the vaccines would require outside monitoring.

Leif Eric Easley, a professor at the University of Iowa in Seoul, said the system’s public acknowledgment of coronavirus cases meant that “the public health situation must be grave.”

With Reuters, Associated Press and Agence France-Presse