North Korea reports 15 more suspected Covid deaths amid escalating outbreak

At least 15 more people died of suspected Covid infection in North Korea, state media said on Sunday and hundreds of thousands of more cases of “fever” were recorded in the country as it battled its first Covid-19 outbreak.

This comes just days after North Korea confirmed it had detected the first ever case of the virus — more than two years after the pandemic began and spread rapidly across the globe.

Fresh casualties in the hermit kingdom took the total death toll of reported fever to 42 on Sunday. A total of 820,620 cases of the fever have been recorded in the country, Korean Central News Agency reported.

Authorities in North Korea said that the outbreak has spread across the country “explosively” since late April.

Health experts are worried that North Korea may not be adequately testing its population in the absence of diagnostic kits to ascertain the spread among masses.

North Korea could face huge fatalities in the latest outbreak as officials in the Kim Jong-un administration have not confirmed the status of vaccination drive in the country, pressing on the east Asian nation to immediately receive vaccines, medicines and other supplies to combat the spread.

Analyst Cheong Seong-Chang at South Korea‘s Sejong Institute said that without Covid-19 test kits, “North Korea is resorting to body temperature checks to guess at infections”.

“But with such a very inferior and inaccurate method of examination, it’s impossible to find asymptomatic virus carriers and control viral surges,” Mr Cheong said.

He added that the death toll in the country is expected to rise as the infections are “explosively increasing”.

Authorities have imposed a nationwide lockdown in the country amid concerns that the restrictions could slow down the already fragile economy facing western sanctions.

More than 1.3 million people have been deployed in the health task force to deal with the rising infections, KCNA reported.

It added that people with fevers and other abnormal symptoms have been asked to quarantine and continue their treatment.

More quarantine facilities, speedy transportation of medical supplies and disinfection efforts are among Pyongyang’s first response, according to the report.

“All provinces, cities and counties of the country have been totally locked down and working units, production units and residential units closed from each other since the morning of May 12 and strict and intensive examination of all the people is being conducted,” the report added.

Of the total, 496,030 have recovered and 3,244,550 are still receiving treatment and account for active cases.

Neighbouring countries South Korea and China have offered North Korea vaccines and medical supplies but the officials in Pyongyang are yet to confirm their response.

Douglas Mateo

Douglas holds a position as a content writer at Neptune Pine. His academic qualifications in journalism and home science have offered her a wide base from which to line various topics. He has a proficiency in scripting articles related to the Health industry, including new findings, disease-related, or epidemic-related news. Apart from this, Douglas writes an independent blog and assists people in living healthy life.

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