N.Korea ramping up production of drugs, medical supplies to fight Covid: Report

The country has been hit by an unprecedented number of cases of a mysterious fever, most of which are said to be Covid-19.
Members of the North Korean army supply medicines to residents at a pharmacy, amid growing fears over the spread of Covid-19, in Pyongyang, on May 18, 2022. (Kyodo via REUTERS)
Members of the North Korean army supply medicines to residents at a pharmacy, amid growing fears over the spread of Covid-19, in Pyongyang, on May 18, 2022. (Kyodo via REUTERS)
Updated on May 19, 2022 06:43 AM IST
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Written by Harshit Sabarwal | Edited by Poulomi Ghosh, New Delhi

North Korea is ramping up the production of drugs and medical supplies to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, which has wreaked havoc. The country has been hit by an unprecedented number of cases of a mysterious fever, most of which are said to be Covid-19.

According to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Thursday, North Korea is also increasing the production of traditional Korean medicines used to reduce fever and pain.

Also Read| North Korea claims over 1 million Covid recoveries in a week; WHO is worried

In the capital city of Pyongyang and nearby regions, factories are churning out more injections, medicines and thermometers and other medical supplies. On the other hand, more isolation wards have been installed and disinfection work has intensified in the country, the KCNA further reported.

“Thousands of tons of salt were urgently transported to Pyongyang City to produce antiseptic solution,” the KCNA added.

The above news comes as supreme leader Kim Jong Un accused officials of “immaturity” and “slackness” in handling the pandemic.

As North Korea's population of 25 million is still unvaccinated against Covid-19, the state media has encouraged patients to use painkillers and antibiotics. Patients have also been asked to opt for "unverified home remedies" including gargling salt water or drinking lonicera japonica tea or willow leaf tea, a report by news agency Reuters said.

Also Read| Covid-19 outbreak in North Korea worrying for new variants, says WHO

North Korea's caseload of the mysterious fever is nearing two million after 262,270 more cases of people with suspected symptoms of Covid-19 were seen on Thursday. A single fresh death was reported and the toll has climbed to 63. The country is currently under a lockdown and is facing other strict anti-coronavirus measures.

Amid the worsening health crisis in North Korea, the United States and South Korea offered help to fight Covid-19, but have not received any response from Pyongyang yet, Seoul's deputy national security advisor told Reuters.

However, a diplomatic source, familiar with developments, told the news agency that three aircraft from North Korea arrived in China and returned to Pyongyang on Monday carrying medical supplies.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) also offered to provide technical support and supplies, tests, medicines and vaccines to North Korea to help stem the spread of the virus. The WHO has asked the country to share data and information about Covid-19.

(With agency inputs)

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