Six people have died of “fever” in North Korea, at least one of whom was laboratory confirmed to be suffering from COVID-19, it was announced the day after the official admission that a new coronavirus outbreak was located in the capital of the isolated Asian country.
“A fever whose cause has not been determined has been spreading explosively across the country since the end of April” and “six people have died (one of whom has been confirmed to be infected with Omicron subtype BA.2). Variant of SARS-CoV-2, the official KCNA news agency reported.
More than 187,000 people with “fever” have been “isolated” and “offered medical care”, according to the same source.
“So far, 187,800 people have been isolated and are receiving medical treatment,” the KCNA said, adding that 18,000 people had symptoms on Tuesday alone.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visited the command center to deal with the epidemic to learn about the situation and the reaction of the authorities, after declaring a “state of emergency” and ordering a lockdown across the country. He criticized the fact that a “weak point in the epidemic prevention system” was revealed, according to the KCNA.
The outbreak underscores the risk of a major crisis in the country, where the health system has limited resources, which exacerbates the fact that it does not accept international vaccination assistance and keeps borders closed.
Analysts say the health crisis could worsen food shortages as it will hamper the “national effort” to tackle the problem, which is partly due to the drought affecting North Korea.