North Korea Reports 1 Million Covid-19 Cases in 3 Days, Kim Jong Un slams pandemic response
After the country recently claimed its first-ever instances of Covid-19 and ordered countrywide lockdowns, North Korea reported 15 more deaths from “fever” on Sunday.
According to state media KCNA, 42 individuals have died, with 820,620 cases and at least 324,550 people undergoing medical care.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has stated that the outbreak has caused “great upheaval.”
KCNA reported that “all provinces, cities, and counties of the country have been totally locked down, with working units, production units, and residential units closed off from each other.”
North Korea is now reporting huge numbers of new cases daily, despite activating its “maximum emergency quarantine system” to halt the spread of disease among its unvaccinated people.
North Korea confirmed the highly contagious Omicron form had been identified in the capital Pyongyang on Thursday, and Kim ordered national lockdowns.
It was the government’s first formal acknowledgement of Covid cases, and it signalled the end of a two-year coronavirus blockade in place since the outbreak began.
“The spread of malignant disease has come to be a great upheaval in our country since the founding of the DPRK,” Kim said Saturday, referring to North Korea by its official name.
North Korea’s health system is in shambles, and it lacks Covid vaccinations, antiviral treatment medications, and mass testing capabilities.
It earlier turned down offers of Covid vaccines from China and the World Health Organization’s Covax programme, but Beijing and Seoul have now made new offers of assistance and vaccines.
The KCNA article did not disclose whether the additional cases and deaths tested positive for Covid-19, but experts warn the country will have difficulty testing and diagnosing on such a large scale.
The US and South Korea have warned that Kim is planning another nuclear test, which would be the regime’s seventh, and that it could happen at any time.
Analysts have cautioned that Kim may accelerate his nuclear test plans in order to divert attention away from the devastating Covid-19 outbreak in North Korea.