North Korea on Tuesday reported another major leap in what is believed to be COVID-19 and encouraged good health practices, as a large outbreak spread through its unvaccinated population and military officers were deployed to distribute drugs.
State media said anti-virus headquarters said another 269,510 people had been diagnosed with fever and six had died. That brings the death toll in North Korea to 56, with more than 1.48 million people falling ill since the end of April. North Korea lacks test kits to confirm large-scale coronavirus infections, and the report did not say how many had COVID-19 in their fevers.
The prevalence is almost certainly higher than the number of fevers considering the lack of tests and resources for monitoring and treatment of patients. The North Korean virus response came down to the shelter to isolate people with symptoms, and as of Tuesday, at least 663,910 people were in segregation.
In addition to the lack of vaccines for its 26 million people, the country is plagued with malnutrition and chronic poverty, and a lack of public health equipment, including antiviral drugs or intensive care units, which suppress hospitalization and death in other countries.
Some experts suspect that North Korea is reporting fewer deaths to soften the blow for authoritarian leader Kim Jong Un, who is already navigating the most difficult moment in his decade in power. The epidemic has further damaged the already shattered economy by mismanagement of Kim’s nuclear ambitions and US-led sanctions.
The death toll in the north could rise in the coming weeks as those who show symptoms later die of the disease.
It is also possible that the incidence of fever is less reported by officials who are concerned about punishment or that people do not report their symptoms because they fear strict segregation measures, analysts say.
North Korea last Thursday admitted for the first time a domestic COVID-19 infection, ending a widely suspected claim it was virus-free throughout the epidemic.
Describing the outbreak as a “great coup”, Kim imposed measures, including restrictions on movement and segregation. But when he raised concerns about the virus, Kim also insisted that his economic goals should be met, indicating that large groups would continue to gather for agriculture, industry and construction.
The state-run Korean Central News Agency said on Tuesday that the military had deployed officers from its medical unit to assist in transporting drugs to Pyongyang’s pharmacy, which has been open 24 hours to deal with the crisis. It was not clear what kind of medicine was being given.
The KCNA said that the military units had “expressed their desire to bring to life the precious medicine, the nectar of life, related to Kim Jong Un’s great love for the people of Pyongyang.”
The state media is conducting public campaigns aimed at promoting health and hygiene and teaching people “common sense” in disease prevention. North Korean TV aired an animated video advising viewers to change their masks frequently and maintain a distance of at least one meter (yards) from home and even from other relatives, and a lengthy interview with an infectious disease specialist who uses graphics to break the outbreak. Gave. Number of cases by region.
The northern Rodong Sinmun newspaper on Tuesday published a number of articles on anti-virus practices and epidemic responses in other countries. It referred to the Paxlovid antiviral pill of the vaccine and Pfizer without identifying their American developer.
However, the article, which blamed its data on the Chinese Internet, emphasized that such drugs were expensive and could be less effective against new virus forms, and that strong epidemic restrictions would continue.
It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post. The country has avoided millions of vaccines from the UN-backed COVAX distribution program, possibly due to the need for international monitoring attached to those shots.
South Korea has publicly offered to send vaccines, drugs and health workers, but North Korea has so far ignored the offer amid strained relations between Washington and Pyongyang over the strained relations between the two countries.
Some experts say Kim’s praise of China’s epidemic response during a virus meeting last week indicates that the North will be more willing to seek help from its main ally.
Experts say the only realistic outside help would be to provide limited vaccines to reduce mortality in high-risk groups, including the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions.
Dr Poonam Kshetrapal Singh, the World Health Organization’s regional director for Southeast Asia, said the country had not yet started the COVID-19 vaccine, adding that the virus could spread rapidly if it did not take immediate and appropriate action. A statement
He said the WHO was ready to provide North Korea with technical assistance and the necessary medicine and medical assistance to increase testing.