North Korea reports first COVID outbreak since pandemic began | Coronavirus pandemic news

State media reported the “biggest emergency” after Pyongyang detected the BA.2 sub-variant.

North Korea has confirmed its first outbreak of COVID-19, raising fears of a humanitarian catastrophe in one of the world’s only unvaccinated countries.

The official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Thursday that authorities had found a sub-variant of the highly circulating Omicron coronavirus variant BA.2 in people in Pyongyang, without elaborating on the number of confirmed cases.

“Since February 2020, there has been a breach in our emergency quarantine frontline for the past two years and three months, with the largest emergency in the country,” the NBC said.

It added that Pyongyang was taking “maximum” control measures.

north, which blocked its borders In January 2020, the country was one of the few countries on the planet to not report a COVID-19 outbreak, although analysts have long been skeptical of official figures given the country’s long and porous land border with China.

Analysts said Pyongyang’s public acknowledgment of the outbreak could be a sign of the seriousness of the situation, but not necessarily a sign that leader Kim Jong Un is willing to accept outside aid.

“Although the failure of China’s zero-Covid strategy shows that this approach is not effective for omicron variants,” Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul, said in emailed comments. Works, but Pyongyang could double down on the blockade.” “North Korea is entering a period of uncertainty in dealing with domestic challenges and international isolation. The Kim regime is advised to drop its pride and quickly seek donations of vaccines and therapeutics.”

China and North Korea share a long border and trade via a train service linking Dandong to Pyongyang [File: Greg Baker/AFP]

The official Rodong Sinmun reported that the ruling Workers’ Party Politburo acknowledged “loopholes” in the country’s virus defenses and criticized the “careless, lax, irresponsible and incompetent” departments dealing with the epidemic. According to NK News media reports, in response to the acceleration of global spread.

The lockdown was imposed on May 10, NK News said.

China is currently Battling dozens of virus outbreaks Including Dandong, the North’s main trade link with the country. According to NK News, Pyongyang suspended rail freight imports from China in late April due to the outbreak, just four months before services resumed.

North Korea has repeatedly rejected vaccines from the UN-backed global vaccination initiative, and aid workers have warned it will struggle to cope with a massive coronavirus outbreak given its crumbling health system.

“North Korea’s medical system is old, fragile, and completely incapable of dealing with a major outbreak,” said Tim Peters, a Christian aid worker who runs Help Hands Korea in Seoul. “The fact that 40% of the population requires food aid speaks volumes about the weak immune systems of at least 11 million North Korean citizens. In short, outdated medical infrastructure and a highly vulnerable population is a disaster waiting to happen. I sincerely Hope not.”

Before the pandemic, the United Nations estimated that more than a quarter of North Koreans were malnourished.In July this year, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization said that the country work hard to support yourself.

Source link