North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declared victory in the fight against the new coronavirus, and ordered a lifting of maximum anti-epidemic measures imposed in May, state media said on Thursday.
North Korea has not disclosed how many confirmed infections of the virus it has found, but since July 29 it has reported no new suspected cases with what international aid organizations say are limited testing capabilities.
While lifting the maximum anti-pandemic measures, Kim said North Korea must maintain a “steel-strong anti-epidemic barrier and intensify anti-epidemic work until the end of the global health crisis,” according to a report by state news agency KCNA.
Analysts said that while the authoritarian North has used the pandemic to tighten social controls, its victory declaration could be a prelude to restoring trade hampered by border closures and other restrictions.
Observers have also said it could clear the way for the North to conduct a nuclear weapons test for the first time since 2017.
North Korea’s official death toll of 74 people is an “unprecedented miracle” compared to other countries, KCNA reported, citing another official.
Instead of confirmed cases, North Korea reported the number of people with fever symptoms.
Those daily cases reached more than 392,920 on May 15, prompting health experts to warn of an imminent crisis.
The World Health Organization has doubts about North Korea’s claims, saying last month it believed the situation was getting worse, not better, amid an absence of independent data.
Pyongyang’s declaration of victory comes despite rolling out no known vaccine program. Instead, the country says it relied on lockdowns, in-house drug treatments, and what Kim called the “advantageous Korean-style socialist system.”
The North has said it carried out intensive medical checks nationwide, with daily PCR tests on water collected in border areas under the measures.
It also said it has developed new methods to better detect the virus and its variants, as well as other infectious diseases such as monkeypox.
He ordered the lifting of maximum anti-epidemic measures, but said North Korea must maintain a “steel-strong anti-epidemic barrier and intensify anti-epidemic work until the end of the global health crisis.”
Kim’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, said the North Korean leader himself was suffering from fever symptoms, and blamed leaflets from South Korea for causing the outbreak, KCNA reported.
“Although he was seriously ill with a high fever, he could not lie down for a moment thinking about the people he had to take care of until the end in the face of the anti-epidemic war,” she said in a speech who praised his efforts.
North Korea’s Kim declares victory in fight against COVID-19 – KCNA – SABC News
Source link North Korea’s Kim declares victory in fight against COVID-19 – KCNA – SABC News