North Korea confirms its first COVID-19 case two years after the epidemic

North Korea confirms its first COVID-19 case two years after the epidemic ...

North Korea has committed a nationwide lockdown after officially confirming its first COVID-19 outbreak in over two years of the global epidemic, according to NPR. The scope of the outbreak has not been revealed.

This is the country''s first recognition of a COVID-19 infection after strict border controls shortly after the disease spread to countries in early 2020. This included the closure of railroad traffic with its closest partner, China, and halted trade during this period.

What led to the national lockdown?

According to the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), health authorities collected samples from fever-diseased patients in Pyongyang, and found them to be identical to the Omicron version.

While the number of patients tested has not been revealed, Kim Jong Un, the country''s top official, organized a meeting to discuss the outbreak''s reaction. He called it a "unexpected crisis," and asked cities and counties to "thoroughly lockdown" to stop the spread of the virus, according to CGTN.

North Korea has adopted a "maximum emergency epidemic prevention program" that aims to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and "stamp out the source of transmission," according to its friendly neighbor''s ''zero-COVID'' policy.

How does North Korean healthcare fare?

The Omicron variation is believed to be more powerful than its hospitalization and fatality rates in unvaccinated individuals. North Korea rejected vaccines offered by the United Nations'' COVAX program, as a country, because they required international supervision, according to NPR. This puts the country at danger.

The United Nations has sanctioned North Korea''s pursuit of nuclear weapons, implying that the country cannot seek medical equipment to handle a serious outbreak. According to investigators, the public acknowledgement of an outbreak might be a source of assistance for COVID-19 medicines.

It could be that the announcement of the lockdown is to keep North Korean people on a high alert against the virus, which is currently on a rampage in China, particularly in areas where North Korea shares its borders. A second interpretation may be that the outbreak in North Korea is severe, and its members are looking to the government to do something about it rather than test weapons against adversaries, according to NPR.

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