First Covid-19-related death in North Korea, China offers its help

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In North Korea, 187,800 people are said to be in quarantine due to a fever and six people have died, one of whom could have tested positive. Kim Jong-un has decided to contain the entire country, while North Korea, without a vaccine and a very fragile health system, does not seem to be able to handle a large-scale wave.

By testing three short-range ballistic missiles on Thursday, May 12, North Korea appeared to want to show business as usual. But the first photo of Kim Jong Un wearing a mask and hundreds of thousands of cases.” suspicious fever announced by the regime, including 18,000 new ones in twenty-four hours, indicate the seriousness of the situation.

Especially since, according to Cheong Seong-chang, director of research at the Sejong Institute, the military parade on April 25 could be the cause of the current epidemic wave.

When the epidemic situation in China was very serious, the regime organized a large rally without anyone wearing a mask. The country was very confident in its ability to withstand the pandemic.

With a hospital system so fragile, and without extensive testing capacity, it would be impossible to get an accurate idea of ​​the virus’ spread, and it would be very complicated for the government to put in place effective health restrictions, our Seoul correspondent reports. Nicholas Rocca.

A member of the Phyongchon Provincial Hygiene and Epidemic Control Center disinfects the corridor of a building in Pyongyang, North Korea, February. AFP – Joon Chul Jin

► To read also: North Korea’s first case of Covid-19, Kim Jong Un ordered ‘containment’

dry spell

Especially since this wave of fever comes in the midst of a drought and during rice cultivation, a crucial period for the country’s food security. Moreover, while residents in Pyongyang were ordered to return home on Tuesday, on the border with the south, peasants were seen on Thursday continuing their agricultural activities. It appears that the regime wants to continue economic activities as normally as possible with severe restrictions on the already limited freedom of movement.

The city of Gepong in North Korea can be seen from the Unification Observatory in Paju, South Korea, Thursday, May 12, 2022.
The city of Gepong in North Korea can be seen from the Unification Observatory in Paju, South Korea, Thursday, May 12, 2022. AFP – Lee Jin Man

Now experts are wondering whether North Korea will continue to do so missile tests Or maybe take it to the next level with a nuclear test. ” When the situation is complicated and the population is depressed, the system needs something exciting to motivate the people Cheong Seong-chang says,

Option to schema to ” I wake up National enthusiasm in his battle against the virus. Especially since the moment is ripe for an escalation of tensions: Joe Biden arrived in Seoul on May 20 to meet with the new South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, a supporter of a hard line against Pyongyang.

China is ready to help its northern neighbor

As a companion, neighbor and friend Beijing says it is ready to support North Korea in its fight against the epidemic. Pyongyang, which appeared general imprisonment against Variant Omicron BA.2Indeed, since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, it has closed like an oyster.

Real iron curtain, after its existence Rejected offers of vaccine donations from Beijing, Moscow and the World Health Organization. To the south, the border with the Republic of Korea has been tightly closed since the inter-Korean Kaesong Industrial Park was closed. same Along the 19 kilometers along Russia, where Russian diplomats rode on a railroad car during the winter of 2021, photos have spread around the world, as our correspondent in Beijing recalls, Stephane Lagarde. There is still China, where the Yalu and Tumen rivers are the only breathing enclaves in North Korea’s self-sufficient economy. Trucks and freight trains resumed round-trip flights a year ago.

But since the beginning of this year, Dongbei region in northeastern China, particularly Yanbian Autonomous Prefecture, has been hit hard by the resurgence of Covid-19 cases. On April 30, the first warning: China and North Korea suspended the crossings between the two countries, fearing the spread of the virus.

This Thursday, the Chinese diplomatic spokesperson did not specify that the assistance provided could be: protective clothing and masks, nuclear tests or even medical personnel? North Korea officially conducted just over 13,000 PCR tests in 2020.

To read also: “Zero Covid”: Despite criticism, the Chinese state sticks firmly to its strategy

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