Monday, June 27, 2022

North Korea reports another surge in fever amid COVID crisis

Seoul, South Korea ( Associated Press) – North Korea on Tuesday reported another major surge in diseases known as COVID-19, as a massive outbreak spreads through its unvaccinated population and the need to distribute medicine. Military medical officers were deployed for

State media said the North’s anti-virus headquarters reported another 269,510 people were found to have fever and six people had died. North Korea’s death toll rises to 56 after more than 1.48 million people became ill with the fever since late April. North Korea lacks testing supplies to confirm a large number of coronavirus infections, and the report did not specify how many cases of the fever were COVID-19.

Given the lack of tests and resources to monitor and treat sick people, the outbreak is certainly more likely than a fever. North Korea’s virus response is mostly isolating people with symptoms in shelters, and as of Tuesday, at least 663,910 people were in quarantine.

In addition to a lack of vaccines for its 26 million people, North Korea also grapples with malnutrition and other conditions of poverty and a lack of public health equipment, including antiviral drugs or intensive care units, that have led to hospitalizations and deaths in other countries. suppressed.

Some experts suspect that North Korea is minimizing the deaths to soften the blow for authoritarian leader Kim Jong Un, who was already navigating the toughest moment of his decade in power, first with the pandemic. It was already hurting an economy broken by mismanagement and US-led sanctions. nuclear ambition.

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North’s fatalities could increase in the coming weeks as those who develop symptoms later succumb to the disease.

It’s also possible that fever cases are under-reported by authorities worrying about punishment or that people don’t report their symptoms because they fear stricter quarantine measures, analysts say.

North Korea admitted domestic COVID-19 infections for the first time last Thursday, ending a widely suspected claim it was virus-free throughout the pandemic.

Describing the outbreak as a “great upheaval”, Kim took preventive measures including restrictions on movement and quarantine. But while he raised concerns over the virus, Kim also stressed that his economic goals must be met, indicating that large groups of people will continue to gather for agricultural, industrial and construction work.

The official Korean Central News Agency said on Tuesday that the military had deployed officers from its medical units to help transport the drug to Pyongyang, which had begun to remain open 24 hours a day to combat the virus crisis.

KCNA said army units expressed their desire to “deliver to Pyongyangians the precious medicines, the elixir of life, associated with Kim Jong Un’s great love for the people.”

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It is not clear whether the admission of the North’s wrath communicates a desire to receive outside aid. The country withdrew millions of vaccines from the United Nations-backed COVAX distribution program, possibly because of international surveillance requirements associated with those shots.

South Korea has publicly offered to send vaccines, medicine and health workers, but North Korea has so far ignored the offer amid icy ties between rivals over a standoff in major nuclear talks between Washington and Pyongyang. Some experts say Kim’s praise of China’s pandemic response during a virus meeting last week indicates the North will be more willing to receive aid from its main ally.

Experts say only realistic outside help will offer a limited supply of vaccines to reduce deaths in high-risk groups, including the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions, because of the wide spread of the virus in the north’s population. It’s too late to stop.

Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director for Southeast Asia, World Health Organisation, said, “With the country yet to introduce COVID-19 vaccination, there is a risk that the virus could spread rapidly among the public unless immediate and Appropriate measures are not curbed.” in a statement. He said the WHO is ready to increase testing and provide technical assistance with essential medicines and medical supplies to North Korea.

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Nation World News Desk
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