Six dead and 187,000 people “isolated and treated” for fever in North Korea

“A fever whose cause has not been identified has spread explosively across the nation since the end of April,” the official KCNA news agency said. “Up to 187,800 people are isolated and treated,” she said.

The agency also reported the death of six of these patients, “one of them diagnosed positive for the BA.2 subvariant of ómicron” of the coronavirus.

The isolated nuclear-armed communist country confirmed its first COVID-19 outbreak on Thursday and deployed a “maximum emergency epidemic prevention system” after several fever patients in Pyongyang tested positive for omicron.

“As of May 12 alone, some 18,000 people have contracted a fever nationwide and as many as 187,000 are isolated and treated,” KCNA said.

With its 25 million inhabitants unvaccinated against covid-19 and poor health infrastructure, North Korea may suffer in the face of a major outbreak of the epidemic, experts say.

Leader Kim Jong Un led an emergency meeting of his political bureau on Thursday and ordered nationwide lockdowns in an attempt to contain the spread.

On Friday, KCNA said Kim visited the offices of the epidemic prevention emergency department and “learned about the nationwide spread of COVID-19.”

“It is the most important challenge and the highest tasks of our Party to reverse the immediate public health crisis at an early date,” KCNA said.

North Korea had rejected offers of anticovid vaccines from the World Health Organization, China and Russia.

The impoverished nation had imposed a strict foreign blockade since the beginning of 2020 that sank its economy and trade.

Surrounding it are countries like South Korea or China that have experienced strong outbreaks of covid-19 driven by the highly contagious omicron variant.

Hours after announcing its first coronavirus outbreak, the communist regime launched three short-range ballistic missiles from the Sunan area near the capital in the country’s 16th weapons test since January.

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