N.Korea reports 15 more deaths from ‘fever’ amid Covid outbreak

North Korea reported 15 more deaths from “fever” on Sunday, after the country recently announced its first Covid-19 case and ordered a nationwide lockdown.

State media KCNA said a total of 42 people had died, including 820,620 dead, and at least 324,550 were receiving treatment.

Leader Kim Jong Un said the outbreak had caused “tremendous turmoil” in North Korea.

“All provinces, cities and counties across the country have been completely blocked, and work units, production units and residential units are closed to each other,” KCNA reported.

North Korea is now reporting a large number of new cases every day, despite the activation of a “maximum emergency quarantine system” to slow the spread of the disease among the unvaccinated population.

North Korea confirmed on Thursday that a highly contagious variant of Omicron had been found in the capital, Pyongyang, after Kim ordered a nationwide lockdown.

This is the first time the government has officially acknowledged Covid cases, marking the failure of a two-year coronavirus lockdown that has been maintained since the pandemic began.

“Since the founding of North Korea, the spread of vicious diseases has caused great unrest in our country,” Kim said Saturday, referring to North Korea’s official name.

North Korea’s health system is crumbling — one of the worst in the world — and it has no coronavirus vaccine, antiviral treatment, or mass testing capacity.

It had previously rejected Covid vaccine offers from China and the World Health Organization’s Covid program, but Beijing and Seoul both issued new offers for aid and vaccines.

The KCNA report did not specify whether the new cases and deaths had tested positive for Covid-19, but experts said it would be difficult for the country to conduct testing and diagnosis on such a scale.

The United States and South Korea have warned that Kim Jong Un is preparing for another nuclear test — the seventh for the North Korean regime — and that it could happen at any time.

Analysts have warned that Kim Jong-un may speed up his nuclear test program to distract North Koreans from the catastrophic Covid-19 outbreak.

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