North Korean authorities reported an outbreak of Covid-19 cases in Pyongyang and imposed “strict isolation” throughout the country. This is the first time in more than two years that the Kim Jong-un administration has acknowledged the existence of a coronavirus in the region.
According to an official report released so far Thursday – and despite many doubts about its veracity, there were huge and consecutive outbreaks in China and neighboring South Korea – North Korea had “stopped the evil virus attack.”
In a country that is difficult to access and where information is completely under state control, the revelation that there are cases of covid-19 may mean that the epidemiological situation is much more serious than it appears or is even absent. control.
“The most serious state emergency has occurred: the prevention of the epidemic with our emergency front, which we have strongly defended for two years and three months, has occurred since February 2020,” the state agency KCNA said. Reuters ..
According to the KCNA, which reports that an extraordinary meeting of the Labor Party was held this Thursday to discuss measures to erupt in the capital, the country’s health authorities are operating in a “state of emergency”. and “all cities and counties” “completely close their territories”
A North Korean news agency said on May 8 in Pyongyang, samples were taken from people with symptoms of fever. Laboratory results revealed the existence of Ómicron’s BA.2 sub-variant. The number of cases or the origin of the outbreak has not yet been specified.
According to the World Health Organization, North Korea performed 13,259 covid-19 tests in 2020, all of which returned negative.
Although North Korea has so far denied SARS-COV-2 virus entry and even rejected Chinese vaccine donations – due to transparency requirements in their distribution – North Korea has taken several measures in the last two years. years, suggesting that it has never been a covid-19-free country.
Borders were closed, the use of a protective mask was made compulsory in public places, gatherings were banned and schools were even closed. In addition, a “maximum emergency situation” in Kaesong near the South Korean border in July last year led to a three-week closure of the city and a rescue operation. “an exceptional supply of food and funds” to its population.
If it is confirmed that the Asian country is struggling with the large-scale and accelerated spread of the virus, analysts fear the worst.
“Given the fact that vaccinations are very low and testing capacity and public health infrastructure are poor compared to China – in addition to the lack of intensive care units – there is a potential for huge deaths,” warns Professor Lim Eul-Chul. North Korean studies at Kyungnam University in South Korea.
Speaking to Reuters, the academician admits that if the authorities are unable to control the infections, it could lead to an “unprecedented crisis for Kim Jong-un’s administration.”
This is because the virus or not, the economic and food situation in North Korea is already very serious, to the point that Kim himself did. my fault the failure of the government’s economic policies and the comparison of the current situation with the terrible famine in the country in the 1990s, which killed hundreds of thousands and three million people – depending on who is falling.
In addition to the challenges of responding to the pandemic and the economic crisis – exacerbated by international sanctions imposed on the government because of its nuclear program – North Korea has suffered from typhoons and long droughts in recent years, largely limiting its production capacity.
In a speech on the tenth anniversary of his coming to power in early January, Kim Jong-un assumed that the country would face a “great battle for life and death” in 2022.
Nevertheless, North Korea continues to test ballistic missiles and, according to data collected by the South Korean and U.S. military and intelligence services, is even preparing to conduct a nuclear test in the coming days or weeks.