North Korea says 21 people have died and 174,440 have just been diagnosed with fever as the country seeks to slow the spread of COVID-19 among its unvaccinated population.
The death toll from Friday has risen to 27 deaths and 524,440 outbreaks of the disease since the end of April. North Korea says 243,630 people have recovered and 280,810 remain in quarantine. The state media did not specify how many of the fever cases and deaths were confirmed as COVID-19 infection.
The country imposed nationwide blockades on Thursday following the outbreak of its first COVID-19 infection since the outbreak began.
During a meeting on anti-virus strategies on Saturday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un described the outbreak as a historic “major setback” and called for unity among the government and the people to stabilize the outbreak as soon as possible.
Experts say a failure to control the spread of COVID-19 could have devastating consequences for North Korea, given the country’s poor health care system and its largely unvaccinated population of 26 million.
State media say tests on a sample of the virus collected from an unidentified number of people with a fever in the capital Pyongyang on Sunday have confirmed that they were infected with the Omicron version. The country has so far officially confirmed one death related to Omicron infection.
The virus could have spread as tens of thousands of civilians gathered in Pyongyang on April 25 for a mass military parade in Pyongyang, where they demonstrated the most powerful missiles in their nuclear program.
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