North Korea is fighting a wave of COVID-19 without vaccines and drugs

Without enough drugs and access to vaccines, North Korea is battling a growing wave of COVID-19. On Thursday, the North Korean News Agency reported the registration of 262,270 suspected cases of coronavirus and one deceased.

According to the agency, since the end of April, more than 1.98 million patients have been identified in the country with a population of 26 million. At least 740,160 people have been quarantined.

The agency said a campaign to tackle the epidemic had been launched in the communist state, which had closed its borders for the past two years to stop the infection. The information shows that it relies mainly on traditional Korean antipyretics and painkillers, which “are effective in preventing and treating harmful diseases.” More isolation facilities have been opened across the country, disinfection efforts have been stepped up and strict quarantine measures have been introduced.

“We are working hard to scientifically predict the spread of the epidemic and to build a comprehensive logistical preparation to counter future threats and challenges. At the same time, the serious situation in which new variants of the coronavirus are constantly flaring country is closely monitored “.
This week, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un criticized senior officials for miscalculations in drug distribution and “immature” response to the epidemic. In this regard, the agency writes: “Party organizations and units for the prevention of emergency epidemics at all levels held consultations to immediately correct the identified vulnerabilities, omissions, shortcomings, and defects in the work to prevent the epidemic.”
Western media have noted that South Korea and the United States have offered to help North Korea fight the infection, but have not received a response. At the same time, according to sources, three planes carrying medical supplies from China arrived in Pyongyang on Monday.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 525 million cases of COVID-19 infection have been registered in the world, and 6.2 million people have died.

Two years later: North Korea is battling the COVID wave

Two years after the advent of COVID-19, North Korean authorities have acknowledged that the infection has reached the country. More than 174,000 active cases of coronavirus infection were registered on May 13, 21 people died, North Korean media reported.

A total of 524,440 cases of COVID-19 were detected in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) from late April to May 13, and the death toll is 27. Of the 243,630 patients who have been completely cured, 280,810 are being treated, Interfax reported. “.

Given North Korea’s limited capacity to conduct tests, the figures are likely to be only a fraction of the total, BTA said. According to experts, if the authorities fail to control the spread, it could have devastating consequences due to the weak health care system.

Pyongyang first admitted on May 12 that there was COVID in the DPRK, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called the coronavirus epidemic “the biggest shock since the country’s founding.”

The Politburo of the Central Committee of the Korean Workers’ Party, the highest state body, held a meeting on Saturday “to check the state of the maximum emergency quarantine system and strengthen practical policy measures.” The meeting was chaired personally by Kim Jong Un and recommended that the health authorities study well the quarantine policy, achievements, and experience of other advanced countries. He cited China in particular as an example to follow.

So far, North Korea has rejected UN attempts through the COVID-19 vaccine program, COVAX, to send vaccines to the country, saying it does not need them. On Friday, South Korea offered to send vaccines, and Russia offered to help.

North Korea was one of the first countries to close its borders after the appearance of the new coronavirus in neighboring China – in January 2020.

North Korean authorities have not announced the source of the outbreak, but a Seoul-based website citing sources in North Korea said on Friday night that some students at Pyongyang University had tested positive after attending an event. Labor Day on May 1, was also attended by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The students may have spread the virus after visiting their hometowns near the capital Pyongyang, according to the Daily NK website, citing a source in Pyongyang. The country’s 26 million people have not been vaccinated against the infection.

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