‘Serious national emergency’: North Korea confirms first corona outbreak

“Major National Emergency”
North Korea confirms first corona outbreak

Only a few places in the world have been spared from the pathogen since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Now even the largely isolated North Korea is reporting the first cases. Sovereign Kim wants to “eliminate the root in a very short time”.

North Korea, internationally isolated, has reported the first corona outbreak since the pandemic began more than two years ago. State news agency KCNA said it was a “serious national emergency”. As a result, samples from patients who fell ill with fever on Sunday in the capital Pyongyang matched the highly contagious omicron variant. It is not yet known how many cases there have been and where those affected have been infected.

According to KCNA, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un told an emergency Politburo meeting that the country would introduce a “maximum” quarantine protocol to contain the outbreak. The goal is “to eliminate the root as soon as possible”. Kim added that North Korea “will surely overcome the emergency and win the emergency quarantine project due to the people’s high level of political awareness.”

Kim called for tighter border controls and lockdown measures. According to KCNA, the leader urged citizens to “completely prevent the spread of the vicious virus by completely shutting down their areas in all cities and counties nationwide.” All economic activities would be organized in such a way that each production unit is “isolated” to prevent the spread of the disease.

The country had closed down even more at the start of 2020 to protect itself from the pandemic. As of Thursday, North Korea had confirmed no cases of Covid-19. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), North Korea had carried out 13,259 Covid-19 tests by the end of 2020, all of which came back negative. Analysts say North Korea’s healthcare system would struggle to cope with a major virus outbreak.

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