Nfter a suspected massive coronavirus outbreak, North Korea has reported 21 more “fever”-related deaths. In addition, 174,440 new cases of fever were registered on Friday, the state news agency KCNA reported on Saturday. How many of the 21 deaths were due to the corona virus remained unclear. According to experts, the internationally isolated country does not have sufficient capacity for mass testing.
According to the KCNA, a total of 524,440 people across the country have contracted fever, of which 234,630 have now fully recovered. The total number of deaths is 27.
North Korea confirmed the first corona outbreak since the pandemic began more than two years ago on Thursday. The highly contagious omicron variant BA.2 was detected in patients suffering from fever in the capital Pyongyang. Ruler Kim Jong Un ordered nationwide lockdowns.
Uncertain information situation
At a Politburo meeting on Friday, Kim said the outbreak had sparked “great unrest” in the country, according to KCNA. However, he is confident that “we can overcome this malignant infectious disease within a very short time”. According to the KCNA, the meeting discussed the distribution of emergency drugs and treatment methods.
State media said the deaths so far were “due to negligence, including drug overdose, due to a lack of knowledge of scientific treatment methods.”
China’s zero-Covid policy as a role model
Kim announced that Pyongyang will follow China’s model for the nationwide lockdowns. North Korea should learn from China’s “experience and fruitful achievements”. Beijing is pursuing a strict zero-Covid strategy, but is currently struggling with corona outbreaks in several provinces.
The already largely isolated communist North Korea sealed off its borders in early 2020 to protect itself from the pandemic. According to experts, the country has one of the worst health systems in the world.
North Korea is surrounded by countries that have all had or are having severe omicron outbreaks. Unlike in neighboring countries, however, none of North Korea’s 25 million inhabitants have been vaccinated against the corona virus.