North Korea has confirmed its first Covid-19 fatality amid a “explosive” fever epidemic, state media said on Friday, one day after the dictatorship disclosed for the first time that it was dealing with a coronavirus outbreak.
According to the official KCNA news agency, six people died for the highly transmissible Omicron form.
It stated 187,800 people had “separated and treated” as a fever of unknown origin had spread across the country since late April. According to KCNA, around 350,000 individuals have displayed indications of fever. Including 18,000 who reported such symptoms on Tuesday alone, with 162,200 of them treated thus far. The number of people who tested positive for Covid-19 was not specified by the news agency.
North Korea’s first Covid-19 fatality confirmed after the authorities declared “extreme emergency measures” to combat an epidemic in the capital, Pyongyang.
Experts estimate that none – or very few – of the country’s 26 million people have immunized. There are growing worries that a large epidemic may swiftly overwhelm the country’s under-resourced health systems.
North Korea has so far rejected offers of Covid vaccinations from China and Russia. As well as through the World Health Organization’s Covax programme, ostensibly because providing the vaccines would need outside supervision.
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Human Rights Watch senior Korea researcher Lina Yoon called the regime’s acknowledgment that the virus was spreading “very worrying.”