North Korea reports another 15 suspected COVID-19 deaths

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SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea has confirmed 15 more deaths and hundreds of thousands more patients with flu-like symptoms as it mobilizes more than a million healthcare and other workers to attempt to suppress the country’s first COVID-19 outbreak, state media reported. Sunday.

After maintaining a widely disputed claim that there was no coronavirus for more than two years, North Korea announced on Thursday that it had found its first COVID-19 patients since the pandemic began.

He has since said a fever has spread across the country “explosively” since late April, but did not reveal exactly how many COVID-19 cases he has found. Some experts say North Korea lacks the diagnostic kits needed to test large numbers of suspected COVID-19 patients.

The additional deaths reported on Sunday brought the fever-related death toll to 42.

The outbreak has raised concerns about a humanitarian crisis in North Korea, as most of the country’s 26 million people are reportedly unvaccinated against the coronavirus and its public health system has been in shambles for decades. Some experts say North Korea could suffer huge deaths if it does not immediately receive outside shipments of vaccines, drugs and other medical supplies.

Since Thursday, North Korea has imposed a nationwide lockdown to fight the virus. Observers say this could further strain the country’s fragile economy, which has suffered in recent years due to the sharp reduction in foreign trade caused by pandemic-related border closures, punishing UN economic sanctions. about its nuclear program and its own mismanagement.

At a meeting on the outbreak on Saturday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un described the outbreak as a historic “great upheaval” and called for unity between the government and the people to stabilize the outbreak on as quickly as possible.

KCNA said on Sunday that more than 1.3 million people have been engaged in work to examine and treat the sick and raise awareness about hygiene. He said all people with fever and others with abnormal symptoms were quarantined and treated.

Of those with symptoms, 496,030 have recovered, while as of Saturday 324,4550 were still undergoing treatment, KCNA reported, citing the country’s emergency epidemic prevention center.

According to state media, Kim and other top North Korean officials are donating their private reserve drugs to support the country’s anti-pandemic fight. At Saturday’s meeting, Kim expressed optimism about the country’s ability to bring the outbreak under control, saying most transmissions occur within communities isolated from each other and do not spread from one region. to the other.

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