North Korea has reported eight deaths as Kim apologizes for the virus response

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SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea on Monday reported eight new deaths and 392,920 more fever symptoms amid a growing COVID-19 outbreak as leader Kim Jong Un blasted officials for delaying drug supplies and ordered his military to be involved in the epidemic response. The country’s capital is Pyongyang.

The Northern Emergency Anti-Virus Headquarters said more than 1.2 million people had fallen ill in the rapid spread of the fever since the end of April and about 564,860 were currently under quarantine. Eight new deaths were reported between 6pm and 24pm on Sunday, bringing the death toll to 50. State media did not specify how many cases of fever and death have been confirmed as COVID-19 infections.

Experts say failure to slow down the virus could have serious consequences for North Korea, given its poor health care system. Its population of 26 million is considered largely unvaccinated because their government avoided the proposed millions of shots of the UN-backed COVAX distribution program, probably due to concerns about the need for international monitoring.

North Korea acknowledged its first COVID-19 outbreak last Thursday when it announced that an undisclosed number of people in Pyongyang had tested positive for the Omicron outbreak. It was held more than two years ago for the widely dubious claim of a perfect record of keeping away the virus that had spread almost everywhere in the world.

During a ruling party politburo meeting on Sunday, Kim criticized the government and health officials for what he described as a misleading epidemic response, saying that state medicines were not being delivered on time to pharmacies due to their “irresponsible work ethic” and lack of organization, the North Korean Central News Agency reported. Reported.

The Politburo issued an urgent order to immediately release and expedite the release of state drug reserves and to switch pharmacies to 24-hour shifts, but Kim said such measures were not being implemented properly. Kim has instructed his military medical unit to be involved in stabilizing drug supplies in Pyongyang, KCNA reported.

North Korea’s claim of a perfect record of keeping the virus away for 2 1/2 years was widely questioned. But its extremely strict border closures, large-scale quarantine and propaganda that emphasized anti-virus control as a matter of “national existence” have so far halted a massive outbreak.

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