North Korea’s Kim says Covid has caused ‘great turmoil’ as 21 new deaths reported

Kim Jong-un said the spread of Covid-19 had put North Korea in “great turmoil” as he asked for an all-out fight against the virus outbreak in the country on Saturday.

The hermit kingdom, which closed its frontiers since the pandemic began in 2020, reported 21 deaths and 174,000 new cases of “fever” on Saturday, just days after North Korea confirmed the spread of coronavirus in the country.

Sporting a surgical mask, Mr Kim also chaired an emergency meeting on Saturday where he said that the “spread of the coronavirus is very serious in the world, and means great upheaval for our country”, reported NK News.

“But if we don’t lose focus in implementing epidemic policy and maintain strong organisation power and control based on single-minded unity of the party and the people and strengthen our epidemic battle, we can more than overcome the crisis,” the North Korean leader said in the meeting.

Mr Kim also asked his administration’s officials to study “quarantine policies, successes and experiences” of other countries, especially China. Officials have been asked to “actively follow” their accounts, suggesting Pyongyang could duplicate Beijing’s strategy to overcome the Covid spread.

In the emergency meeting, it was revealed that over half a million North Koreans suffered “fever symptoms” after an “explosive” spread struck Pyongyang in April.

According to Mr Kim, the cases of fevers are “not yet spreading uncontrollably between regions” as he sought strict lockdowns and quarantining measures in affected regions.

Details of Covid-19 testing in the east Asian country are not immediately clear.

However, the Harvard Medical School’s Kee Park said that the country has been testing 1,400 people a week, which is significantly lower than needed to bring the disease spread under control.

The North Korean administration and state media have not shared what areas are affected due to the virus.

The deaths reported after North Korea disclosed the first ever case of Covid-19 have not been attributed to Covid-19 by the state media. However, one death was caused due to the Omicron variant of the virus, reported KCNA.

According to the epidemic control officials, the deaths in “most cases” were “caused by negligence including drug overdose due to lack of knowledge on treatment methods”, the report added.

Mr Kim said that while the crisis had struck North Korea due to the incompetence and irresponsibility of party organisations in their response to the epidemic, the transmission was not uncontrollable and the country must have faith in its battle to overcome the crisis in the shortest possible period.

The leader has offered to donate medical supplies from his household for the families reeling under the medical emergency, the report added.

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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