North Korea announced on Wednesday that more than a million individuals have recovered from suspected COVID-19, only a week after announcing an epidemic it appears to be attempting to handle in isolation, despite world experts’ grave concerns about the public health hazard.
In official media on Wednesday, the country’s anti-virus center revealed 232,880 more instances of fever and six more fatalities. Since late April, there have been 62 fatalities and more than 1.7 million fever cases, according to these numbers. At least 691,170 people are still under quarantine, according to the report.
Outside scientists believe the majority of the fevers are caused by COVID-19, but North Korea lacks the necessary testing to confirm this. Because some virus carriers do not produce fevers or other symptoms, the epidemic is very definitely greater than the fever tally.
It’s also unknown how more than a million people healed so swiftly when the country’s impoverished, unvaccinated population of 26 million has access to little medicine, medical equipment, and health facilities. According to some experts, the North may just be releasing people from confinement after their fevers have subsided.
COVID-19 has killed around 6.3 million people worldwide, with the real toll estimated to be far higher. Countless deaths have been confirmed in countries with epidemics comparable to North Korea’s stated fever total.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, said Tuesday that North Korea has not replied to his request for further information regarding the epidemic.
Before admitting to COVID-19 infections for the first time last week, North Korea has maintained a widely questioned assertion that the virus had been kept out. It also turned down millions of vaccination doses given by the United Nations-backed COVAX distribution program, owing to international monitoring obligations.
North Korea and Eritrea are the only two sovereign United Nations member states that have not implemented immunizations, although Tedros claims that neither has replied to WHO offers of vaccines, medications, testing, or technical assistance.
“WHO is highly concerned about the potential of further spread in (North Korea),” Tedros said, saying that the nation has an alarming number of individuals with underlying diseases that make them more susceptible to severe COVID-19.
Dr. Michael Ryan, WHO’s emergency head, stated that unregulated viral transmission might lead to new varieties, but that WHO was unable to intervene unless governments agreed to help.
Although the North has so far rejected South Korea’s offer of vaccinations, medication, and medical staff, many believe the North will be more prepared to accept assistance from its key ally China. The government of South Korea said it couldn’t corroborate media claims that North Korea flew three planes back from China with emergency supplies on Tuesday.
North Korean officials expressed confidence in the country’s ability to overcome the crisis on its own at a ruling party Politburo meeting on Tuesday, with Politburo members discussing ways to “continuously maintain the good chance in the overall epidemic prevention front,” according to official media.
North Korea is suspected of underreporting deaths to ease the impact for Kim, who was already dealing with the most difficult period of his decade in office. The epidemic has exacerbated the economic devastation caused by mismanagement and US-led sanctions over Kim’s nuclear and missile programs.
Kim chastised authorities for their early pandemic reaction, saying it revealed “immaturity in the state’s capabilities to deal with the catastrophe,” and blaming the country’s susceptibility on their “non-positive attitude, slackness, and non-activity.” “media reported.
According to the article, he asked officials to boost workplace virus controls and redouble efforts to increase the supply of basic essentials and stabilize living circumstances.
North Korea has also dispatched over 3,000 military medical personnel to assist with the delivery of medicine to pharmacies, as well as public health officials, teachers, and students studying health care to detect those suffering from fevers and quarantine them. Because it lacks immunizations, high-tech medicine and equipment, and intensive care facilities that have reduced hospitalizations and fatalities in other countries, the country has relied on discovering individuals with symptoms and isolating them in shelters.
While expressing concern about the epidemic, Kim has also stated that his economic objectives must be realized. Large crowds of employees continue to congregate at farms, mining facilities, power plants, and building sites, according to state media sources, to guarantee that their job is “pushed as scheduled.”
North Korea’s COVID-19 outbreak coincided with a series of provocative weapons tests, including its first intercontinental ballistic missile test in nearly five years, in an attempt to force the US to accept the North as a nuclear power and negotiate economic and security concessions from a position of strength.
When US President Joe Biden visits South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol in Seoul this week, the North Korean nuclear threat is anticipated to be top on the agenda. Yoon’s deputy national security advisor, Kim Tae-hyo, told reporters Wednesday that while North Korea is unlikely to perform a nuclear test this week, it is preparing for another ICBM test.
During a Politburo meeting on Tuesday, Kim Jong Un stated that he would “arouse the entire party like (an) active volcano once again under the state emergency situation” to “prove the party’s leadership before history and time” and “defend the country and the people without fail and demonstrate to the entire world the strength and the spirit of heroic Korea once again.” “media reported. There was no mention of a large weapons test in the paper.
According to an analysis released Tuesday by Beyond Parallel, a website run by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, recent commercial satellite images of the nuclear testing ground in Punggye-ri show refurbishment work and preparations at a yet-unused tunnel on the southern part of the site, which is presumably nearing completion to host a nuclear test.