North Korea reports more deaths, says it is taking “immediate action” against COVID epidemic

North Korea reports more deaths, says it is taking “immediate action” against COVID epidemic

SEOUL, May 15 (Reuters) – North Korea said Sunday that a total of 42 people had been killed as the country began its fourth day under a national lockdown aimed at halting the poor country’s first confirmed COVID-19 outbreak.

North Korea’s admission on Thursday that it was battling an “explosive” outbreak of COVID-19 has raised concerns that the virus could destroy a country with a resource-poor, limited testing capacity and no vaccine program. read more

The state-run KCNA news agency reported that the country was taking “immediate emergency measures” to control the epidemic, but there was no indication that Pyongyang was moving to accept international vaccine bids.

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“All the provinces, cities and counties of the country have been completely excluded and the work units, production units and houses have been closed to each other since the morning of May 12 and a strict and intensive examination of all people is being carried out,” the KCNA reported. on Sunday.

A day earlier, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said the spread of COVID-19 had brought his country into “great turmoil” and called for a comprehensive battle to overcome the epidemic. read more

Despite the lockdown, Kim and other senior officials attended the funeral of Yang Hyung Sop, a former head of state during the rule of Kim Jong Il’s father, the KCNA reported.

Health authorities set up more outbreak prevention sites and rushed medical supplies to hospitals and clinics, while senior officials donated back-up medicines, the KCNA reported.

A “large percentage” of deaths are due to people “carelessly taking drugs due to lack of knowledge and understanding of the latent Omicron variant virus infection and the correct method of treatment,” the report said.

Korean Central Television on Saturday night broadcast fever treatments. A doctor at Kimmanyu Hospital suggested “gargling with salt water” and taking different medications in case of fever, headache and muscle and joint pain.

The KCNA yesterday also suggested that you drink lonicera japonica tea or willow leaf tea three times a day.

At least 296,180 more people showed symptoms of fever and another 15 had died by Sunday, the agency said.

Experts say North Korea does not seem to have the capacity to test these tens of thousands of symptomatic patients. The KCNA did not say how many of these suspected cases were positive for COVID-19.

In all, North Korea has reported 820,620 suspected cases, with 324,550 still receiving medical treatment, the KCNA reported.

North Korea has previously claimed that there are no confirmed cases of the virus and is one of only two countries in the world that have not yet launched a vaccination campaign against COVID, according to the World Health Organization.

Self-imposed lockdowns have slowed trade and raised concerns about food shortages or other hardships, humanitarian organizations said. read more

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Report by Josh Smith and Byungwook Kim. Editing: Daniel Wallis, Richard Chang and Cynthia Osterman

Our role models: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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