Just days after its first official confirmation of a coronavirus outbreak, North Korea continues to report its lightning spread and announced 15 further Covid-19 deaths on Sunday, reports MIA.
By Sunday evening, the number of patients with fever symptoms had risen to more than 1.2 million, state media reported on Monday, citing the emergency center for epidemic prevention. More than half of them have recovered.
The isolated authoritarian country also avoided any reference to the coronavirus. Instead, it continues to speak of the “spread of the epidemic.”
At an emergency meeting of the Politburo on Sunday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered the mobilization of soldiers to help distribute medicine in the capital. At the meeting, Kim rebuked officials for failing to deliver medicine in time, according to reports. How many of the reported cases of fever are actually due to Covid remains unclear.
North Korea officially confirmed infections with the pathogen last Thursday for the first time since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic more than two years ago.
The country has reportedly mobilized almost 1.45 million people in an attempt to combat the virus. Those mobilized have been tasked with examining and educating members of the public as well as ensuring that anyone with fever or other “unusual symptoms” is quarantined.
Since Thursday morning, “all provinces, cities and districts in the country have been completely sealed off in accordance with the Party and government’s emergency measures”, state media said in its first confirmation of the outbreak. North Korea had long claimed to be free of coronavirus infections.
These claims were challenged abroad, and experts now warn that North Korea lacks the capacity to conduct mass testing for the disease.