North Korea Reports First-Ever Covid Case, Orders ‘Severe National Lockdown’

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered a lockdown of all cities after the country announced for the first time on Thursday that it has Covid-19 within its borders.

“A serious situation has been created due to the introduction of a stealth omicron mutant virus into our precincts,” its official Korean Central News Agency said. At a party meeting Thursday attended by Kim, authorities elevated the country’s national quarantine measures to “maximum emergency,” it added.

According to KCNA, Kim ordered “all cities and counties across the country to completely shut down their areas” to “completely block the transmission of malicious virus.”

Samples retrieved from fever-stricken patients in Pyongyang on Sunday were “consistent with” the virus’ highly transmissible Omicron form, according to the official KCNA news agency.

Top North Korean authorities, including leader Kim Jong Un, convened a crisis politburo meeting to discuss the epidemic and announced that a “maximum emergency” virus control mechanism would be implemented.

KCNA said Kim told the meeting that “the goal was to eliminate the root within the shortest period of time.”

“He assured us that because of the people’s high political awareness … we will surely overcome the emergency and win the emergency quarantine project,” it said.

Kim called for tighter border controls and lockdown measures, ordering citizens “to completely block the spread of the malicious virus by thoroughly blocking their areas in all cities and counties across the country,” KCNA said.