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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

North Korea reports 15 more suspected COVID-19 deaths

by Hyung-jin Kim

Seoul, South Korea ( Associated Press) – North Korea has confirmed 15 more deaths and hundreds of thousands more feverish as it tries to suppress the country’s first COVID-19 outbreak, with more than a million health and other workers. mobilizes, state media reported on Sunday.

After maintaining a widely disputed claim of being coronavirus-free for more than two years, North Korea announced on Thursday that it had found its first COVID-19 patient since the pandemic began.

It has said that “explosive” fever has spread across the country since late April, but did not disclose how many COVID-19 cases have been found. Some experts say North Korea lacks the diagnostic kits needed to test large numbers of suspected COVID-19 patients.

The additional deaths recorded on Sunday took the fever-related deaths in the country to 42. The official Korean Central News Agency also reported that another 296,180 people suffering from fever had increased, taking the total to 820,620.

The outbreak has raised concerns about a humanitarian crisis in North Korea as most of the country’s 26 million people are believed to be unvaccinated against the coronavirus and its public health care system has been in shambles for decades. Some experts say North Korea could face heavy casualties if it does not receive outbound shipments of vaccines, medicines and other medical supplies immediately.

“Without COVID-19 test kits, North Korea is resorting to testing body temperature to estimate infection. But with such a very inferior and inaccurate method of examination, it is impossible to find asymptomatic virus carriers and control viral surges,” said analyst Cheong Seong-chang at the Sejong Institute in South Korea.

“As North Korea’s (suspected) COVID-19 infections continue to rise explosively, its death toll is expected to continue to rise,” Cheong said.

Since Thursday, North Korea has imposed a nationwide lockdown to fight the virus. Observers say it could further strain the country’s fragile economy, which has sharply reduced external trade in recent years due to pandemic-related border closures, combined over its nuclear program and its own mismanagement. The nation’s economic sanctions have been punished.

During a meeting on the outbreak on Saturday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un described the outbreak as a historically “great turmoil” and called for unity between the government and the people to stabilize the outbreak as soon as possible. called upon.

The KCNA on Sunday said that more than 13 lakh people are engaged in the work of testing and treatment of sick people and spreading awareness among people about cleanliness. It said all those with fever and others with unusual symptoms are being kept in quarantine and being treated. The KCNA said the response to the pandemic includes the establishment of more quarantine facilities, immediate transport of medical supplies to hospitals and increased disinfection efforts.

“All the provinces, cities and counties of the country have been completely locked down and since the morning of 12th May the working units, production units and residential units are closed from each other and strict and thorough examination of all the people has been conducted. is going,” KCNA said.

Of those with symptoms, 496,030 have been cured, while 324,4550 were still receiving treatment as of Saturday, KCNA reported, citing the country’s Center for Emergency Epidemic Prevention.

State media reports said Kim and other senior North Korean officials are donating their personal reserve of medicines to support the country’s anti-epidemic fight. During Saturday’s meeting, Kim expressed optimism that the country could bring the outbreak under control, adding that most transmissions are occurring within communities that are isolated from each other and not from region to region. are spreading.

Despite the outbreak, Kim has ordered officials to move forward with planned economic, construction and other state projects, a suggestion that officials need not require for people to confine themselves at home. Hours after acknowledging its virus outbreak on Thursday, North Korea also fired ballistic missiles toward the sea, continuing its recent streak of weapons testing.

KCNA said Kim, along with top deputies, visited a bereavement center on Saturday to offer condolences for senior officer Yang Hyong Sop, who died a day earlier, and visit bereaved relatives. A separate KCNA dispatch said on Sunday that officials and workers in the Northeast were launching initiatives to avert a potential spring drought that could damage crop yields and quality.

South Korea and China have offered to send shipments of vaccines, medical supplies and other aid to North Korea, but Pyongyang has not publicly responded to the offer. North Korea has previously rejected millions of doses of vaccines offered by the United Nations-backed COVAX distribution program amid speculation that it is concerned about potential side effects of the vaccines or international monitoring requirements associated with those shots.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Thursday that the United States supported international aid efforts but did not plan to share its vaccine supplies with the North. The North Korean virus outbreak could still be a major topic of discussion when President Joe Biden visits Seoul later this week for a summit with South Korean President Eun Suk Yeol.

Park Ji-won, the former South Korean spy chief, wrote on Facebook on Friday that he, as the then director of the National Intelligence Service in May 2021, proposed that Washington supply 60 vaccines to North Korea in the form of humanitarian aid through COVAX. Send million doses. He said that later talks were held at the United Nations and the Vatican about sending 60 million doses to North Korea, but such aid was never realized because no formal offer was made to North Korea.

Park said he expected North Korea to quickly accept Yun’s aid offers, though he said he doubted whether the North would do so.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
World Nation News is a digital news portal website. Which provides important and latest breaking news updates to our audience in an effective and efficient ways, like world’s top stories, entertainment, sports, technology and much more news.
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