Amid Covid outbreak, North Korea's Kim deploys army to battle ‘fever’: 5 points
North Korea has deployed its army as the isolated nation battles a suspicious ‘fever,’ days after announcing its ‘first’ Covid-19 case. Even senior members of the ruling Workers’ Party’s powerful politburo were on the ground, visiting pharmacies and medicine management offices, after leader Kim Jong Un criticised ‘ineffective distribution’ of drugs, the state Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in a report on Tuesday.
Here are 5 points on the latest developments on the health crisis in North Korea:
(1.) At least six more North Koreans succumbed due to the mysterious fever, pushing the death toll to 56, reported KCNA, citing the state emergency epidemic prevention headquarters. Fever symptoms were found in 269,510 more people, bringing the total to 1,483,060. Overall, 663,910 citizens were under medical treatment.
(2.) On Kim’s orders, a ‘powerful force’ of the Korean People’s Army Ground Force was ‘urgently deployed’ to all pharmacies in the Capital, Pyongyang, the KCNA said. The city is the epicentre of the ongoing epidemic.
(3.) On Monday, as many as 11,000 officials, teachers and medical students participated in an ‘intensive medical examination of all inhabitants’ to locate and treat people with symptoms of ‘fever,’ widely believed to be Covid-19.
(4.) Neighbouring South Korea offered to send medical equipment, including vaccines, masks and test kits, but said the North was yet to even acknowledge its initiative. The United States, too, expressed its concerns about the situation.
(5.) North Korea acknowledged its ‘first’ Covid-19 case last Thursday, prompting Kim to order nationwide lockdowns to slow the spread of the disease. The country has one of the world’s worst-equipped healthcare systems.
(With agency inputs)
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