Kim Jong Un: North Korea Facing 'Great Turmoil' as COVID-19 Cases Surge
When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in early 2020, North Korea closed its borders and imposed a strict lockdown, allegedly later refusing to accept vaccines. Despite these measures, Pyongyang declared a state of "maximum emergency" on Wednesday as cases began to emerge.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has said his country is experiencing a "great turmoil" as authorities are working to combat the COVID-19 spread affecting hundreds of thousands within the nation.
Latest figures indicate officials recorded 21 more COVID-19 deaths on Saturday, with over 174,400 people nationwide experiencing a fever, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.
After Kim presided over an early-morning politburo meeting, Pyongyang's state media reportedly announced the updated tally compiled the day before.
According to the state-run Korean Central News Agency's latest report on COVID-19, a fever "of unknown cause" has spread explosively across the country, resulting in 350,000 fever cases, of which some 162,200 were cured. According to North Korea's official data, as of Thursday, 12 new cases of the virus and six deaths in a day were recorded in the country, and one cause of death was confirmed to be from complications due to the novel coronavirus.
The proliferation of the harmful novel coronavirus has caused "great turmoil since the country's founding," according to Kim.
The leader stated the health crisis was caused by the inefficiency and recklessness of party organizations in their anti-epidemic response, underscoring that measures must be taken to end the outbreak as soon as possible.
He also reportedly added that the mission to tackle the spread of the virus would be "the most important challenge" before the party, and the authorities in the regions to reverse the course of events, restore the stability of quarantine and protect "the health and well-being of our people."
On Thursday, the politburo of the Workers' Party of Korea on May 12 decided to raise the level of national danger before the outbreak of the virus.
"The state epidemic prevention work shall be switched over to the maximum emergency epidemic prevention system," the statement said.
According to the KCNA, a total of 524,440 people in North Korea developed fever symptoms between late April and May 13. It was reported that 243,630 of them had been entirely cured, with another 280,810 being treated.