TOKYO – North Korea says it has detected a case of BA.2 Omicron submarine in its capital Pyongyang, the first time the country has acknowledged a positive coronavirus infection since the outbreak began more than two years ago.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has held a leadership meeting and called for tighter border controls against Kovid, announcing a “highly urgent” virus control mechanism, according to state media. According to state media on Thursday, the man tested positive on May 8 and the results were similar to BA.2.
With no vaccine available, experts say the population’s low immunity to the virus could put North Korea at risk of becoming the center of a new form.
NKNews, a Seoul-based website focused on surveillance of North Korea, reported this week that the people of Pyongyang were ordered to lockdown after warning of “national problems” on Tuesday. Individuals told the outlet that there were panic purchases and supply shortages as residents feared prolonged lockdowns in the capital.
State media on Thursday called the outbreak a “serious national emergency.”
North Korea, already one of the world’s most closed societies, is in the grip of a severe epidemic lockdown because it has adopted a strategy similar to China’s “zero covid” approach, which has serious implications for population health and food security.
In recent weeks, North Korea’s state media has repeatedly warned of greater cowardice due to the outbreak on the border with China, urging the public to “strengthen anti-epidemic work in preparation for a prolonged emergency.”
It seems that the virus has entered the country. So far, North Korea has said it has no positive facts, although many experts have questioned the veracity of that claim.
This is a developing story and will be updated. Min Xu Kim contributed to this report.