North Korea: 8,20,620 fresh COVID-19 cases in just 3 days
Just days after North Korea reported its first COVID-19 case, an explosion in the number of infections rocked the country on Sunday. According to the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), 8,20,620 fresh cases were reported in the last three days with 42 fatalities. Out of the total, 3,24,550 people required medical attention. Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un had imposed a nationwide lockdown on Thursday.
- Until now, North Korea had boasted of keeping COVID-19 at bay since its emergence.
- With North Korea reportedly rejecting offers of vaccinations from the World Health Organization (WHO), China, and Russia, the alarming rise in the number of cases exposes the country's population to the extreme dangers of the infection.
- The country's 25 million-strong population remains unvaccinated.
"The spread of the malignant disease has come to be a great upheaval in our country since the founding of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)," North Korea's Supreme Leader Jong-un stated on Saturday.
North Korea, even after initiating the "maximum emergency quarantine system" is witnessing large numbers of COVID-19 cases among its unvaccinated population. The country has also recently confirmed the presence of the contagious Omicron variant in Pyongyang. According to KCNA, "All provinces, cities of the country, and its international borders have been placed under absolute lockdown."
An analyst at South Korea's Sejong Institute, Cheong Seong-Chang, said the pace at which the infection is spreading in the North suggests the crisis could last months and possibly into 2023. A major COVID-19 outbreak would be devastating because of the country's ill-equipped healthcare system. Some experts also feel that the North announcing the outbreak could mean it is willing to receive external aid.