For the first time since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic (in March 2020), North Korea reported deaths from it — six people died and more than 350,000 became infected.
This was reported by CNN.
The death toll and another 18,000 new patients were reported on Thursday, May 12, the day after the country first reported coronavirus patients, calling the situation a "serious emergency."
North Korea has not confirmed that all cases of "fever" and death are related to the coronavirus, probably due to limited testing capabilities. "The fever, the cause of which could not be established, has spread rapidly throughout the country since late April. Currently, up to 187,800 people are in isolation," the DPRK said.
CNN writes that the Covid-19 outbreak could be a disaster for North Korea. The countryʼs outdated health infrastructure is unlikely to meet the challenge of treating large numbers of patients with highly communicable diseases, and the country is not known to have imported coronavirus vaccines.
On May 12, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visited the State Epidemic Prevention Headquarters and acknowledged that the spread of the outbreak means there is a "vulnerability" in the countryʼs epidemic prevention system. On the same day, China said it was ready to support North Korea in the fight against the coronavirus.
"As comrades, neighbors, and friends, China is ready to give its full support to the DPRK in the fight against the epidemic," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a briefing.
South Korea and the United States also agreed to continue discussions on ways to provide humanitarian aid to North Korea with the international community.