More than two years of pandemic passed until North Korea announced the first confirmed deaths by Covid-19. It is suspected that this small communist country hid the real numbers of cases and deaths during all this time.
Just on Thursday, the government of Kim Jong-Un reported the first victim of Covid-19 in the entire pandemic. Today the state news agency increased that figure to 6 people in total.
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This is framed in aexplosive outbreak” of covid, although at the moment the real magnitude of the infections is unknown. As experts explain, could be lethal by a health system in poor condition and a population that does not have vaccines.
The consequences of the “explosive outbreak”
The Korean Central News Agency reported that of the more than 350,000 people who have been treated for fever since the end of April, 162,200 have recovered. This fever would translate into Covid.
In addition, they reported that only on Thursday 18,000 people with fever symptoms were detected and that 187,800 are in quarantine to receive treatment.
The state news agency said one of the six deceased was confirmed to be infected with the Omicron variantbut it is not clear at the moment how many of the total number of patients had COVID-19.
Concern for Ómicron and the health system
North Korea imposed a nationwide lockdown on Thursday, after admitting to his first outbreak of COVID-19 during the pandemic. According to those reports, diagnostic tests carried out on an unspecified number of people were positive for the omicron variant.
It is possible that the spread of the virus has been accelerated by the huge military parade which took place on April 25 in Pyongyang, where North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was the center of attention and exhibited the most powerful missiles of his military nuclear program in front of tens of thousands of people.
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Cheong Seong-Chang, an analyst at South Korea’s Sejong Institute, said the speed of the fever’s spread suggests that the crisis could last several months and possibly extend until 2023, severely affecting a country poorly equipped to deal with the situation.
Some experts say North Korea’s initial announcement shows a willingness to receive outside help. He had previously refused the vaccines that were offered to him by the COVAX program of the United Nations, possibly because it required international monitors.