COVID-19. Six questions about the health crisis affecting North Korea

North Korea is still an exception. As the world witnesses a general ebb of the Covid-19 epidemic, the Asian country led by Kim Jong Un is experiencing a period of strong turmoil.

1. Why has North Korea been saved so far?

In early 2020, when Sars-Cov-2 was first detected in neighboring China, North Korea took immediate measures to prevent the virus from reaching its territory. The internationally isolated country has already decided to tighten the noose a little more by closing its borders from January 25, 2020 and limiting the movement of its residents.

A strategy that allowed North Korea not to report cases to the World Health Organization for more than two years, but it eased in January with the restoration of rail freight with China.

2. How big is the wave affecting the country?

On May 12, the official Central News Agency contacted Collection of samples matching the Omicron variant from patients with fever in the capital. Since then, the number of cases has risen very quickly. According to the latest official report, 1.5 million cases fever has been recognized, At least 663,910 people receive medical treatment 56 people died.

For Hong Min, a researcher at the Seoul-based Korea Institute for National Unification, the current Covid-19 outbreak is Closely related to the April 25 reviewa huge military parade marking the 90th anniversary of the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army.

3. What is the state of the health system?

North Korea’s healthcare system was ranked 193 out of 195 countries by a study conducted by Johns Hopkins University in the US last year. The country’s hospitals are known to be poorly equipped, with few intensive care units. According to experts, the country has no cure for Covid-19 and does not have the capacity to test its population on a large scale.

Most North Koreans are chronically malnourished and unvaccinated, there are hardly any medicines left in the country and the health infrastructure is unable to handle this epidemic.Lina Yoon, Korea researcher at Human Rights Watch.

4. What measures have been taken to combat the epidemic?

In the wake of the first case, leader Kim Jong Un ordered a nationwide lockdown in an effort to stem the spread of the virus. He also deployed the army to deal with the epidemic save medicine.

Kim Jong Un also strongly criticized the government and health authorities for their handling of the epidemic. According to him, the officials responsible for supplying drugs They did not roll up their sleeves and properly assess the current crisis

5. What help is North Korea?

Several countries have expressed their willingness to help North Korea. This is the case for the two neighbors and allies, China and Russia. As a brother, neighbor and friend of North Korea, China is ready to give it all its support to help it confront the Covid-19 virus.Beijing said on May 12.

South Korea, which is in conflict with its northern neighbor, has also offered to help. New President Yoon Seok Yeol affirmed on Monday, May 16th before the National Assembly that He will not hesitate to provide necessary assistance to the North Korean people Provided he accepts it. So far, Pyongyang has not responded.

Prior to the crisis, North Korea had already refused the supply of vaccines by Beijing and Moscow, a fortiori through the international Covax program which would have led to external oversight.

6. Is the nuclear threat used as a diversion?

Complicating the situation further, despite the health crisis, new satellite images indicate that North Korea has resumed construction of a long-stall nuclear reactor. Washington and Seoul suspect Pyongyang is preparing a nuclear test, which will be its seventh in its history and the first since 2017, in order to distract North Korean residents.

COVID-19. Six questions about the health crisis affecting North Korea

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