North Korea claims miraculous win over coronavirus, says Kim suffered a fever

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SEOUL – North Korea, with one of the world’s poorest health-care infrastructures, now claims to have achieved what few other countries have achieved: eradicating the coronavirus.

For days, state propaganda outlets reported zero cases of “fever,” which North Korea, with its limited testing capacity, uses as a euphemism for possible Covid-19. On Wednesday, leader Kim Jong Un gave a speech in which he “seriously declared victory” over the virus, state media said on Thursday.

But the story of North Korea’s miraculous comeback has many holes. For one, it lacks the ability to perform extensive PCR testing. North Korea and Eritrea There are only two countries Without the coronavirus vaccine program. and North Korean hospitals are also very poorly equipped There is barely reliable electricity.

What you need to know about the Covid crisis in North Korea

This has not stopped North Korea from declaring success. Kim himself is credited with eradicating the virus despite falling “seriously ill with a high fever” – although state media did not specify whether the fever was caused by the coronavirus infection.

“He couldn’t sleep even for a moment thinking about the people he had to take care of until the end during the anti-epidemic war,” his influential sister Kim Yo Jong praised his leadership in a recent speech.

Since May, more than 4.7 million “fever” symptoms have been reported in North Korea, nearly a fifth of its 25 million population. At its peak, more than 750,000 fever cases were reported in a single day. Only 74 fever patients – or about 0.002 percent – have now died, making North Korea’s death rate one of the lowest in the world.

Experts warned that the number could not be independently verified, especially given the exodus of international aid workers from the country, which had already closed its borders during the pandemic. Many people infected with the coronavirus do not show symptoms of fever, which raises questions about his data.

Still, as the country seals its borders and restricts the movement of its population during the Covid response, it’s possible that the peak of fever cases is over, said Shin Young-jeon, a professor of preventive medicine at Hanyang University in Seoul.

But “North Korea’s coronavirus death toll of 74 is absurdly low,” he said, adding that Pyongyang’s lack of diagnostic capabilities likely understated the death toll in official figures.

Making sense of North Korea’s coronavirus mystery — and its threat

Declaring victory over Covid is a useful propaganda tool for the regime, which is grappling with a severe economic crisis amid self-imposed restrictions on the cross-border movement of goods and people by China, the North’s biggest trading partner. Kim’s claim to have similar symptoms could be a way of sending a message of solidarity with his people, some experts say.

North Korea needs to show its dominance over Covid, experts say, after the virus emerged in Pyongyang. Victory can also be announced Paving the way for further missile testsAfter delivering a message to the elite, Kim has successfully handled the domestic crisis.

Park Won-Gon, a professor of North Korean studies at Eva Women’s, said, “The virus outbreak, which comes amid an ongoing economic crisis, poses a serious challenge to the Kim Jong Un regime, prompting Kim Jong Un to act on it himself.” University in Seoul.

Park said the Kim regime made “all-out efforts” to contain the virus, which appeared to be effective, though the “zero case” claim was hard to believe. North Korea may soon resume military provocations in the face of the virus outbreak, he said.

‘Alien things’ brought Covid to North Korea, government says

North Korea has also used the virus to attack South Korea, which it blames for its health crisis. Last month, state media blamed “foreign affairsBalloon-like objects carrying propaganda leaflets released by anti-Pyongyang activists warn from the South about bringing the virus across the border. Experts have questioned this claim and believe that the virus may have entered North Korea through trade activities along the border with China., When restrictions were briefly relaxed in the first quarter of 2022.

At a virus meeting on Wednesday, Kim Yo Jong threatened to retaliate against South Koreans for spreading the virus to the North.

“If the enemy persists in dangerous actions such as encouraging the entry of the virus into our republic, we will respond not only by eradicating the virus, but also by destroying South Korean officials,” she said, according to state-run Korean. Central News Agency.

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