North Korea confirms 21 deaths as it battles COVID-19

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea said 21 people died on Friday alone and 174,440 new people were found to have a fever as the country struggled to slow the spread of COVID-19 among the unvaccinated population.

North Korea said on Saturday that 27 people had died and 524,440 had been sickened by a rapidly spreading fever since late April. It said 280,810 people were still in quarantine. State media did not specify how many fever cases and deaths were confirmed as COVID-19 cases.

The country imposed a nationwide lockdown on Thursday after confirming its first COVID-19 infection since the pandemic began.

Tests of virus samples taken Sunday from an unspecified number of people with fever in the country’s capital Pyongyang confirmed they were infected with the omicron variant, state media said. So far, the country has officially confirmed one death linked to omicron infection.

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