October 5, 2022

North Korea’s Covid Outbreak Is Over, Kim Jong-un Says

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SEOUL – North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said the country had ended its coronavirus epidemic without a vaccine, state media reported Thursday, while Mr. Kim’s sister blamed the virus on South Korea across the border. Accused of sending and threatened that “fatal” retaliation.

Two years after claiming no cases of Covid-19, North Korea announced an outbreak in May.Maximum contingency“And Lockdown All its cities and counties. On Wednesday, Mr Kim “firmly declared victory” in “eliminating the novel coronavirus that entered our land”, the official Korean Central News Agency reported. I

According to the report, Mr. Kim, speaking at a meeting with national health officials, said his government would lower its surveillance against the disease to “normal” levels by Friday.

External experts have. Doubt On the North’s claims about Covid, including its past claims that it has no cases. Even the statistics it has released since May have been viewed with skepticism, as the isolated, impoverished country does not have enough testing kits or laboratories to accurately diagnose a major outbreak. Can track

According to Thursday’s report, Mr. Kim said that all of the Covid patients identified by his government had been diagnosed with the Omicron subvariant BA.2. While North Korea has reported 4.7 million cases of people suffering from high fever during the outbreak, it has never said how many people have been confirmed to have been infected with Covid-19.

The north, which has a population of about 26 million, has reported only 74 deaths during the outbreak. Even these deaths were officially attributed to a “deadly pandemic” or “deadly virus”, clearly not to Covid.

South Korean intelligence officials have told lawmakers that some North Koreans with fever symptoms may have diseases such as whooping cough, measles or typhoid.

North Korea said Its spread Started at the end of April. On May 16, its daily reported number of people with fever reached 390,000. In recent weeks, that number fell below 100,000, and the government began to say it had the outbreak under control. It has not reported any new cases. From July 29

At Wednesday’s meeting with Mr. Kim, North Korean officials said it was “an unprecedented miracle in the history of world public health” that the North had never vaccinated its people, state media reported. However, it ended the epidemic so quickly.

Last month, the North suggested that the coronavirus had entered the country. Foreign goods from South KoreaSaying that its spread started in the villages located near the heavily militarized border of these countries. Balloonswhich one North Korean defectors Southerners often use less hostile propaganda leaflets, dollar bills, and other items to send across the border.

Mr. Kim’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, took a far more accusatory tone during Wednesday’s meeting, accusing “hateful people in South Korea” of spreading “pamphlets, banknotes, terrible leaflets and things in our territory.” According to official media reports.

“We have already considered various countermeasures but our countermeasure must be a lethal retaliation,” Ms. Kim, who serves as her brother’s spokesperson on South Korean issues, was quoted as saying.

He also suggested Mr Kim might have Covid, saying he had led a national campaign against the virus despite having a “high fever”.

South Korea has said it is unlikely that the balloon launch brought Covid-19 to the North, saying it has consulted disease control experts on the matter. On Thursday, the South Korean government called Ms Kim’s allegation “far-fetched” and “extremely rude”.

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