6 dead of ‘fever’ as Covid hits North Korea; US says ‘no current plans’ to share vaccines with the nation
North Korea said Friday that six people who were sick with fever have died, with one of them testing positive for Covid-19, the official Korean Central News Agency reported as per news agency AFP.
“A fever whose cause couldn’t be identified explosively spread nationwide from late April… Six persons died (one of them tested positive for the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron,)” it said.
Some 187,800 people are currently being treated in isolation after a fever of unidentified origin has “explosively spread nationwide” since late April, the official KCNA news agency reported.
Around 350,000 people have shown signs of that fever, including 18,000 who newly reported such symptoms on Tuesday alone, KCNA said. About 162,200 of them have been treated so far, but it did not specify how many had tested positive for COVID-19.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visited the anti-virus command centre on Tuesday to check the situation and responses after declaring “gravest state emergency” and ordering a national lockdown on Thursday.
He “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 singled out actively isolating and treating people having fever as a top priority, while calling for devising scientific treatment methods and tactics “at a lightning tempo” and bolstering measures to supply medications.
In another dispatch, KCNA said health authorities were trying to organise testing and treatment systems and bolster disinfection work.
“No current plans to share vaccines with North Korea,” says US
Meanwhile, the United States has said that it has no plans now to share Covid-19 vaccines with North Korea, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Thursday as per Reuters. The spokesperson said North Korea had repeatedly refused vaccine donations from the COVAX global vaccine sharing project, and added, referring to the country by the initials of its official name: “While the U.S. does not currently have plans to share vaccines with the DPRK, we continue to support international efforts aimed at the provision of critical humanitarian aid to the most vulnerable North Koreans.”
With inputs from AFP and Reuters