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Covid Rips Through North Korea As 15 More Deaths And Nearly 300,000 New Cases Reported

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at January 1, 1970


North Korea reported 15 new Covid-19 deaths along with hundreds of thousands of new patients with “fevers,” as the country pledges to mobilize millions of health and other workers to fight its first officially acknowledged coronavirus outbreak.

Key Facts

According to the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the country reported 296,180 new infections on Sunday, pushing the country’s official case count to 820,620.

The staggering surge in new cases has come after North Korea reported its first-ever Covid-19 outbreak on Thursday.

Since the start of the current outbreak, North Korea has reported 42 fatalities linked to the coronavirus.

The speed of the outbreak has raised concerns of a humanitarian catastrophe in the country as most of its residents are believed to be unvaccinated and its public health system is reportedly in a poor state.

To help tackle the outbreak, all provinces, cities and counties of the country “have been totally locked down” and residential units, workplaces and factories have been isolated from each other, KCNA reports.

The state media outlet claimed Pyongyang has mobilized nearly 1.35 million workers to help deal with the current outbreak.

Big Number

324,550. That’s the total number of people who are still actively being treated for their “fever” while 496,030 patients have recovered, according to KCNA’s report.

Key Background

On Thursday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered a nationwide lockdown after the country reported a Covid-19 outbreak fueled by the highly infectious BA.2 omicron variant. This the was the first time that Pyongyang officially acknowledged a Covid-19 outbreak inside its borders, however, experts have raised doubts about Pyongyang’s earlier virus-free claims. The official disclosure was seen as sign that North Korea may be seeking outside help to tackle the outbreak, which threatens to quickly overwhelm its already-fragile healthcare system. The country had previously refused to accept vaccines offered to it as part of the U.N.-backed COVAX program, in a possible effort to avoid monitoring requirements.

What To Watch For

North Korea almost certainly lacks the capacity to carry out large-scale testing, which maybe be necessary to curb the outbreak. So far, the country appears to only report cases with “fevers” which is one of the symptoms linked to an infection, but without testing, it is very likely that asymptomatic cases are going unreported. Additionally, North Korea’s “lockdown” has apparently not led to the halting of work in factories and farms, which may further exacerbate the spread.

Further Reading

North Korea reports 15 more suspected COVID-19 deaths (Associated Press)

North Korea Reports Its First Covid-19 Outbreak, Kim Jong-Un Orders National Lockdown (Forbes)

North Korea Reports First Covid Death Amid ‘Explosive’ Disease Outbreak (Forbes)

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