AFTER not registering any cases or deaths, in over two years since the Covid pandemic began, North Korea announced on Saturday, May 14, that the number of people to have died from the virus has reached double figures.
North Korea has reported 21 new daily Covid deaths and a possible 174,440 cases, according to the state-run news agency, KCNA. This takes the total number of deaths to 27 after six were confirmed on Friday, May 13.
The news agency said that around 280,810 people were receiving treatment for Covid-like symptoms, following the first discovery of the virus, believed to be similar to the Omicron Covid variant, which was first detected in sick patients in Pyongyang on Sunday, May 8.
Following the announcement of the first-ever case on Thursday, May 12, North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un announced a ‘maximum emergency’ virus control system to tackle the ‘outbreak’.
Since then, around 524,440 people have fallen ill with a fever similar to the virus, according to reports from KCNA, which haven’t specifically confirmed how many of the fever cases and deaths were actually COVID-19 cases.
Announcing the lockdown on Thursday, May 12, in the hopes of preventing the spread, Kim Jong-un said his goal “was to eliminate the root within the shortest period of time.”
“He assured us that because of the people’s high political awareness … we will surely overcome the emergency and win the emergency quarantine project,” KCNA said at the time.
According to KCNA, Jong-un told North Korean citizens “to completely block the spread of the malicious virus by thoroughly blocking their areas in all cities and counties across the country”.
Prior to the country’s first case of the virus, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had stated that after conducting 13,259 Covid-19 tests by the end of 2020, no positive tests were registered.
The news of North Korea’s first-ever case of the virus comes after it was revealed on Thursday, May 12 that the death toll as a result of Covid has passed more than two million in Europe, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
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