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North Korea acknowledges its first coronavirus outbreak two and a half years later, declaring the "most serious national emergency"


The regime has ordered the confinement of the entire country, where there is no record of vaccinations

North Korea has acknowledged its first Covid outbreak, two and a half years after the pandemic began.

A contagion of the omicron variant in Pyongyang, the capital.

The infection has unleashed all the alarms in the country, fearing serious consequences: the health system is extremely precarious, and there is no evidence that any of the 28 million inhabitants has been vaccinated.

The regime has declared the situation as the "most serious national emergency" and has ordered the confinement of the entire territory.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic in Wuhan (China) in December 2019, North Korea had opted for isolation as the main line of defense against the virus.

In February 2020, after the Chinese city where the first cases were detected announced its confinement, Pyongyang closed its borders firmly.

Only this year did it partially reopen the freight train line that connects it with the city of Dandong, on the Chinese border, although after a series of cases in that town, operations were suspended again.

On occasion, he has ordered the confinement of cities in the border area.

In July 2020, he did speak of the possibility of an outbreak, when a man crossed the border from South Korea.

But although the neighboring city of Kaesong, where the defector passed through, was confined for 20 days, the lockdown was lifted after the suspect's tests came back negative.

Until now, North Korea has consistently rejected offers of international assistance, from China and the WHO's Covax mechanism, to vaccinate its residents.

Nor had it reported any cases of coronavirus within its territory, and it has only notified the World Health Organization of 64,207 covid tests among its citizens until March 31, all of them negative.

“A case of the greatest state emergency has occurred: a crack has occurred in our epidemic prevention front, which had firmly defended us for two years and three months,” said the North Korean news agency, KCNA.

The outbreak was discovered after detecting cases of fever among residents of Pyongyang who had samples taken for examination.

KCNA does not specify how many infections were discovered or what could have been the origin of the outbreak, since the country remains, at least in theory, hermetically sealed.

The supreme leader, Kim Jong Un, called a meeting of leaders of the Workers' Party to analyze the response to the situation, and ordered a "strict confinement" in all locations in the country to try to cut the chain of infections.

“State epidemic prevention tasks will be raised to the level of maximum prevention emergency,” the state agency has indicated, adding that reserve medical supplies will be mobilized to respond to the crisis.

The announcement of the outbreak comes as Western analysts believe that North Korea is preparing a new nuclear test, the first since 2017 and the seventh in its history.

Since the beginning of the year, the Kim Jong Un regime has ended the moratorium that was imposed in 2018 and has resumed its tests of long-range ballistic missiles, including intercontinental and hypersonic missiles.

At the same time, the regime has recognized economic problems, caused by the combination of border closures due to covid, the effect of international sanctions against its weapons program, and natural disasters.

The South Korean central bank said in its annual report last year that the North's economy suffered its biggest contraction in 23 years in 2020.

Source: elparis

All life articles on 2022-05-12

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