North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is claiming progress in slowing the spread of Covid-19, even as almost 220,000 more people are diagnosed with “feverish symptoms”, officials say.
N Korea reports more fevers as Kim claims Covid progress
SEOUL, South Korea: North Korea says almost 220,000 more people have feverish symptoms, even as leader Kim Jong Un claimed progress in slowing a largely undiagnosed spread of Covid-19 across an unvaccinated population of 26 million.
The outbreak has caused concern about serious tragedies in the poor, isolated country with one of the world’s worst health care systems and a high tolerance for civilian suffering. Experts say North Korea is almost certainly downplaying the true scale of the viral spread, including a strangely small death toll, to soften the political blow on Kim as he navigates the toughest moment in his decade of rule.
Around 219,030 North Koreans with fevers were identified in the 24 hours to 6pm on Friday, the fifth straight daily increase of around 200,000, according to the North’s Korean Central News Agency, which attributed the information to the government’s anti-virus headquarters.
North Korea said more than 2.4 million people have fallen ill and 66 people have died since an unidentified fever began quickly spreading in late April, although the country has only been able to identify a handful of those cases as Covid-19 due to a lack of testing supplies. After maintaining a dubious claim for two and a half years that it had perfectly blocked the virus from entering its territory, the North admitted to omicron infections last week.