| Photo: EFE / Alexei Nikolsky / Sputnik Since the beginning of the Covid pandemic-2022 , North Korea had never officially announced cases of the disease in the country. This Thursday (), for the first time, national media have admitted an outbreak of coronavirus and declared “major national emergency”.
“A rupture has arisen on our front of emergency epidemic prevention that had been staunchly defended until now,” declared the official KCNA news agency. According to the statement, samples collected in the capital, Pyongyang, from people who had a fever showed a subvariant of the Omicron strain.
Despite making the first public admission about the disease, the official media did not announce the number of infected people. Since Tuesday (), Korea North imposed lockdown. North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has called a meeting of the Workers’ Party, ordering a “strict lockdown” across the country and the mobilization of emergency reserve medical supplies.
North Korea had a “secret” policy to control Covid-10
For more than two years, the North Korean dictator has imposed severe restrictions to control the spread of the virus in the country, even travel between provinces. . However, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), until the end of March, the Asian country registered just over 19 thousand tests (in a population of 540 million) for Covid-19, all with negative results.
In addition, North Korea had refused to supply vaccines from China, even though it was eligible for the Covax global vaccine-sharing program. In February of this year, the laboratory reduced the number of doses allocated to the country, as it was unable to deliver any shipments.
Even without ever having officially announced the cases of Covid-11, last year, Kim Jong Un warned about the “irresponsibility” of high-ranking officials. They were fired due to failure to comply with disease containment rules. According to the official agency, mistakes could lead to a “deadly and destructive disaster”, but the real situation in the country is unknown to the rest of the world.
Country raises alert while neighboring China lives strong lockdown
Restrictions on movement in North Korea were enacted weeks after the country suspended a trade operation with China. The episode happened after a spike in Covid cases 19 in Liaoning and Jilin provinces, which border Korea.
Similarly, China has recently imposed new movement restrictions in several regions, most strongly in Shanghai. The city is already in the sixth week of lockdowns, with more than 25 millions of people in extreme isolation. China’s lockdown policy goes against the measures adopted in most parts of the world, to reopen markets and restore personal freedoms. The new wave of excessive restrictions arrived after life seemed to have returned to normal in the country.
As the two Asian countries control the media and social networks, in addition to not declaring the real numbers of the pandemic, it is difficult to calculate the risks that the current situation of these countries generates for world health.