© Reuters. Kim Jong Un is North Korea’s leader and speaks during a meeting at the Workers’ Party’s politburo to review the country’s anti-coronavirus efforts (COVID-19 pandemic) in this undated image released by North Korea’s Korean Central News.
By Josh Smith & Byungwook Kim
SEOUL (Reuters – North Korea announced that 42 people died in the fourth day of a national lockdown. The country was trying to stop the first COVID-19 epidemic, which has left the nation impoverished.
North Korea has admitted that it is fighting an “explosive COVID-19 epidemic” on Thursday. It raised concern that this virus could decimate a country lacking a well-resourced healthcare system and with limited testing capabilities. There are also concerns about the lack of a vaccine program.
KCNA state news agency stated that Pyongyang had begun to respond to international requests for vaccines.
“All the provinces and all cities in the country are locked down, with production units, residential units, working units, and work units being closed off from one another, since the early morning of May 12, while a thorough and intense examination is taking place,” KCNA stated on Sunday.
Kim Jong Un, North Korean leader, stated that COVID-19 spread had caused “great turmoil” in his country and demanded an intense fight to end it.
KCNA reports that Kim, along with other high-ranking officials, attended the funeral service for Yang Hyong Sop on Saturday, despite the lockdown. This was a de facto head state under Kim Jong Il’s rule.
KCNA reported that Health officials set up additional epidemic prevention points and immediately transported supplies to hospitals. Meanwhile, senior officials donated medicines.
The report stated that a large proportion of these deaths are due to “negligent drug use” and a lack of understanding and knowledge about the stealth Omicron variation virus infection and how to treat it.
According to the outlet, at least 296,180 people were also suffering from fever, while 15 others had already died by Sunday.
Experts claim that North Korea lacks the capability to diagnose and treat the tens or thousands of patients with symptoms. The KCNA didn’t report the number of cases that had been suspected to have tested positive for COVID-19.
The KCNA reported that North Korea had 820,620 suspect cases. 324,550 remain under medical care.
According to the World Health Organization, North Korea has not yet reported any confirmed cases of the disease.
According to aid organisations, the lockdowns that it has self-imposed have slowed trade down to a crawl and raised concern about food scarcity or other hardships.