North Korea: 21 new deaths in middle of Covid epidemic

Six dead Thursday, twenty-one Friday, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea faces the acceleration of the COVVI-19 epidemic, even if it is still struggling to use this term. The indicators are red, the number of cases explodes.

Le Monde with AFP

The KCNA state media still speaks of “fever”, however, flambée, deaths and cases, resembles well-known markers of COVID-19. More than twenty deaths this Friday, May 13, 2022, two days after the official announcement of the very first case of coronavirus. Some 174,440 new fever cases were identified on Friday said the official agency [against 18,000 Thursday]. “The total number of patients in the country is 524,440, of which 234,630 are completely healed […] and the number of deaths to date is 27”, detailed Kcna.

According to several experts, these figures could underestimate the extent of the propagation of the virus, the country does not have the capacities to massively test its population. Thursday, this reclusive country had reported its first cases of coronavirus, declaring to go into a “maximum emergency prevention of epidemics” [which implies containment measures], after people had been tested positive for the sub varying ba.2 of omicron. He also announced his first death.

The official press declared that these first deaths were “due to negligence, in particular to an overdose of drugs, due to the ignorance of the methods of scientific treatment”.

North Korea, which was one of the first countries in the world to close its borders in January 2020 after the appearance of the virus in neighboring China, has long boasted of its ability to hold the virus to distance. Until then, she had not pointed out any confirmed cases of COVVI-19 to the WHO.

a weak health system

Manager Kim Jong-uni appeared for the first time on television bearing a mask, after having presided Thursday an emergency meeting of the political bureau on the epidemic situation. He had then ordered confinement measures to try to stop the spread of the virus. “This is the most important challenge and the most important task that our party must face to quickly reverse this situation of health crisis,” he said according to the state agency.

During a meeting on Saturday, the North Korean leader promised a “rapid distribution of emergency drugs” and ensured that he wanted to introduce “patient treatment methods, including those with special constitutions”, reported KCNA. Kim Jong-Un said he was “convinced” to be able to defeat this malicious infectious disease as soon as possible, “adds the report.

But the country’s health system [one of the worst in the world] is in ruins and lack of drugs and essential equipment, alert experts. Mr. Kim announced that he would adopt the Chinese model of fighting coronavirus. “We should learn from the experiences and fruitful achievements of the Chinese Communist Party and its people in the prevention of the virus,” he said.

Another major challenge for North Korea: none of the 25 million inhabitants is vaccinated against the coronavirus, Pyongyang having rejected the vaccination offers from WHO, China and Russia.

/Media reports.