North Korea reports first COVID-19 death as fever spreads 'explosively'

Island

In the Sun
Moderator
SEOUL, May 13 (Reuters) - At least one person confirmed to have COVID-19 has died in North Korea and hundreds of thousands have shown fever symptoms, state media said on Friday, offering hints at the potentially dire scale of country's first confirmed outbreak of the pandemic.

The data represents an unprecedented admission of an "explosive" outbreak in a country that had reported no previous confirmed cases since the pandemic began, and could mark a grave public health, economic and political crisis for the isolated regime.


South Korea's new president, Yoon Suk-yeol, who took office this week, plans to provide COVID-19 vaccines and other medical support to North Koreans, and his government would discuss details with Pyongyang, his spokeswoman said on Friday, without elaborating.

Yoon told reporters later on Friday he plans to propose holding working-level talks with North Korea via the country's unification ministry which handles inter-Korean affairs, South Korea's News1 said.


Experts said that given North Korea's limited testing capabilities, the numbers released so far probably represent a small fraction of the infections, which could lead to thousands of deaths in one of only two countries in the world without a COVID-19 vaccination campaign.

About 187,800 people are being treated in isolation after a fever of unidentified origin has "explosively spread nationwide" since late April, the official KCNA news agency reported.


Roughly 350,000 people have shown signs of that fever, including 18,000 who newly reported such symptoms on Thursday, KCNA said. About 162,200 have been treated, but it did not specify how many had tested positive for COVID-19.

At least six people with fever symptoms have died, with one of those cases confirmed to have contracted the Omicron variant of the virus, KCNA said.

Harvard Medical School's Kee Park, who has worked on health care projects in North Korea, said the country has been testing about 1,400 people each week, which is not nearly enough to survey 350,000 people with symptoms.

"What is more worrisome is the sheer number of symptomatic people," he added. "Using a conservative case fatality rate of 1% and assuming the surge is due to an Omicron variant of COVID-19, North Korea can expect 3,500 deaths from this outbreak."

'GRAVEST EMERGENCY'​

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visited the anti-virus command centre on Thursday to check the situation and responses after declaring a "gravest state of emergency" and ordering a national lockdown, KCNA said.

State media has said the outbreak began in the capital, Pyongyang, in late April, without elaborating on potential causes. The city hosted several massive public events on April 15 and 25, including a military parade and large gatherings where most people did not wear masks.

Kim, who attended some of those events, "criticised that the simultaneous spread of fever with the capital area as a centre shows that there is a vulnerable point in the epidemic prevention system we have already established," KCNA said.

Kim said isolating and treating people with fevers is a top priority, while calling for scientific treatment methods and tactics, and measures to supply medication.

In another dispatch, KCNA said health authorities were trying to organise testing and treatment systems and bolster disinfection work.

The rapid spread of the virus highlights the potential for a major crisis in a country that lacks medical resources and has refused international help with vaccinations while keeping its borders shut.

Analysts said the outbreak could worsen the country's already tough food situation this year, with the lockdown hampering its "all-out fight" against drought and the mobilisation of labour.

CALLS FOR AID​

North Korea said last year it had developed its own polymerase chain reaction (PCR) equipment for COVID tests. But it declined vaccine supplies from the COVAX global sharing programme and China, possibly leaving the vast majority of people in a relatively young society at higher risk of infection.

North Korea has so far not publicised any new calls for help in countering the outbreak, but some observers were optimistic that the disclosure was a signal that the government would soon accept vaccines or other aid.

Yoon's pledge for support came a day after Kwon Young-se, his nominee to be the unification minister, said at his confirmation hearing that he would push for humanitarian assistance for the North, including COVID treatment, syringes and other medical supplies.

A unification ministry spokesman said on Friday that about 95.4 billion won ($74.1 million) from an inter-Korean cooperation fund was earmarked to facilitate exchanges in the health and medical area.

A U.S. State Department spokesperson said it had no plans to send vaccines to North Korea but supported international efforts to provide aid to vulnerable people there, urging Pyongyang to facilitate that work.
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SuperSaiyaMan12

The Seventh Hokage's arrived.
While Russia walls off its border with the rest. It's a small border, but even though they're fucking up in Ukraine, I'm sure they can still manage.
Then Kim gets angry his closest allies have turned against him due to his incompetence in handling a health emergency and decides to make China and Russia the new enemies to North Korea. All the while the US and South Korea get some more breathing room.
 

hammer

the stoic non binary catgirl
Considering how isolated North Korea is...this could wipe out a massive amount of the population.
most likley due to eruopean tourists coming through the china-north korean border like how else is covid getting into the country.
 

dr_shadow

Moderator
Moderator

hammer

the stoic non binary catgirl
They haven't let in any tourists since 2020, though.

It's more likely to have come in on a freight train from China, since NK does still have to import some things that they can't produce domestically, such as oil.
I think the earliest vlog into N Korea I got recommended to me on YouTube was dated 18-19, yours sounds more likley
 

DanzoWasRight

Well-Known Member
I don't praise him, but the more time passes, the more Kim Jong-Un gain flow like his Grandfather.





And their military parade, damn.

 

dr_shadow

Moderator
Moderator
I don't praise him, but the more time passes, the more Kim Jong-Un gain flow like his Grandfather.





And their military parade, damn.


Did you notice that he's now wearing the same kind of marshall's uniform as Stalin?

He used to mostly dress in black or blue Mao-style "Yat-sen suits". The white marshall's jacket is new for this year.

I donno if he's maybe trying to signal that his stature is now equal to Stalin's, since NK is now nuclear power just like the USSR was.

(Of course, post-1994 North Korean propaganda generally does not compare the DPRK to other Socialist countries, but North Koreans older than like 40 will still be familiar with the Soviet symbols and be able to interpret what a change in wardrobe means)
 

dr_shadow

Moderator
Moderator
Mandatory reminder that if the "Democratic People's Republic of Korea" still exists on October 28 this year, it will have stood longer than the Soviet Union (74 years) and join the Socialist Republic of Vietnam as one of the longest living Leninist states.
 

DanzoWasRight

Well-Known Member
Did you notice that he's now wearing the same kind of marshall's uniform as Stalin?

He used to mostly dress in black or blue Mao-style "Yat-sen suits". The white marshall's jacket is new for this year.

I donno if he's maybe trying to signal that his stature is now equal to Stalin's, since NK is now nuclear power just like the USSR was.

(Of course, post-1994 North Korean propaganda generally does not compare the DPRK to other Socialist countries, but North Koreans older than like 40 will still be familiar with the Soviet symbols and be able to interpret what a change in wardrobe means)
No, I think he just larps as Kim Il-Sung. As in the picture I posted, Kim Il-Sung in the 1940-1950s used to wear this white Stalin marshal's uniform.

Even his famous haircut, comes from Kim Il-Sung



Basically the whole strategy of Kim Jong-Un is larping as his grandfather because till today is the most popular leader of North Korea because the most prosperous era of North Korea was during his reign. In the other hand, Kim Jong-Il is the most unpopular because he ruled North Korea during its worst period after the fall of the USSR.

And in a certain way, as Kim Il-Sung is called the eternal leader, the fact Kim Jong-Un tries everything to look like Kim Il-Sung makes this fiction true.



If China in this decade starts a Cold War 2.0 and establishes alternative platforms to bypass Western sanctions and platforms, then North Korea will return to the 1960-1970s prosperous era. I don't praise this totalitarian regime and I know its people suffer a lot, but undeniably if a new Cold War starts, the NK's economy will be in a better shape because NK will bypass western sanctions and platforms thank to the hypothetical alternative system pushed by China. What made NK economy better than today in the 1960s - 1970s, is because of the USSR massive financial aid + the fact they weren't alone like today, they could enjoy the alternative communist system which disappeared in the end of the 1980s.
 

egressmadara

Wanderin' About
@NorthKorea @China

What's the point of being authoritarian dictatorships if you can't force the weakest members of your society to get a jab?
 

hammer

the stoic non binary catgirl
apparently it's started serialization again.

I think i'll read over the first two once the third is close to finishing cause i don't remember shit.
all I remember was that they used a scene form the anime version in a youtube video for top ten horror animes because out of context it looks scary as fuck lol
 
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