Seoul (South Korea)- Six people have died, and 350,000 people are in treatment in North Korea after the country’s first acknowledgement of a COVID-19 outbreak.
The full scope of the outbreak is unknown. Still, in a country with a broken healthcare system and an unvaccinated and malnourished population, a significant COVID-19 attack could be devastating. North Korea said it didn’t know what’s been causing the mass fevers since it didn’t have enough COVID-19 tests or other medical equipment.
According to the North’s official Korean Central News Agency, one hundred sixty-two thousand two hundred people have recovered from fevers since late April.
According to KCNA, one of the six people died from the omicron variant, but it was unclear how many of the total illnesses were COVID-19.
On the 12th of May, North Korea imposed a nationwide curfew after acknowledging the first COVID-19 outbreak of the pandemic. According to those reports, many people tested positive for the omicron variant.
A massive military parade in Pyongyang on April 25 accelerated the spread of the virus, with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un taking centre stage and displaying the most potent missiles of his military nuclear programme in front of tens of thousands of people.
According to Cheong Seong-Chang of the Sejong Institute in South Korea, the fever rate suggests the crisis could last months, if not years, and cause significant disruption in the country’s underdeveloped infrastructure.
According to some experts, the North’s initial announcement signals a willingness to accept outside assistance. It previously avoided vaccines distributed by the United Nations-backed COVAX programme, possibly due to international monitoring requirements.
South Korea’s Unification Ministry, which is in charge of inter-Korean affairs, stated that the South was willing to provide medical and other assistance to North Korea based on humanitarian considerations.
North Korea, on either hand, has likely avoided a large outbreak until now, according to South Korean officials, partly because it implemented strict virus controls almost instantly after the pandemic began.