WHO worries about worsening Covid-19 situation in North Korea

WHO warns that the Covid-19 outbreak in North Korea is becoming more and more serious, despite Pyongyang’s statement that the situation has improved.

“We believe that the situation in North Korea is worsening, not improving. It is not possible to make an appropriate risk assessment at the moment, and it is difficult to provide accurate analysis when the necessary data are not accessible. “, World Health Organization (WHO) emergencies director Mike Ryan said on June 2.

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) announced today that authorities recorded an additional 96,600 cases of fever in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to more than 3.8 million cases, of which 69 people have died. This is the third day in a row that the number of daily fever cases in North Korea has fallen below 100,000, compared with a peak of more than 392,000 cases a day in mid-May.

Medical staff at a pharmacy in the North Korean capital Pyongyang in this photo released on May 31.  Photo: KCNA.

Medical staff at a pharmacy in the North Korean capital Pyongyang in this photo released on May 31. Photo: KCNA.

North Korea does not disclose how many of these cases are infected with nCoV, but says 95% of the patients have recovered. The country has not vaccinated its people with the Covid-19 vaccine and refused vaccine aid trips from the WHO. “We have offered to help many times, including three times for vaccine aid and will continue to do this,” Ryan said.

WHO officials are working with China and South Korea to find a way to bring aid to North Korea, and warn of the risk of more dangerous mutations if Covid-19 continues to spread out of control.

“We don’t want a violent outbreak of the disease in a sensitive population and a weakened health system. This is not good for the people of North Korea, as well as the region and the world,” Ryan said.

North Korea detected its first Covid-19 case on May 12, raising concerns about a shortage of vaccines, inadequate medical infrastructure and a potential food crisis in the nation of 25 million people.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un then announced the launch of the disease control system “with the utmost urgency”, demanding to stop the momentum of the virus infection by locking down all cities and towns. nationwide, as well as reorganizing business and production activities in each enterprise, to ensure a clear separation between production and living areas.

Officials have distributed food and medicine across the country, and military medics have also been deployed to help distribute drugs and conduct testing. More than a million health workers, including medical school students and faculty, have been mobilized to “contain and completely eliminate the source of transmission”.

Kim Jong-un on May 29 chaired a meeting of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea to discuss measures to prevent Covid-19, in which he concluded that the situation “is improving”. .

Vu Anh (Theo AFP)

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