North Korea confirms 21 new deaths in the fight against Covid-19

North Korea has reported 21 new deaths and 174,440 more people with fever symptoms.

The country made the announcement on Saturday as it struggles to slow the spread of Covid-19 in its unvaccinated population.

The new deaths and cases, which occurred from Friday, brought the total number to 27 deaths and 524,440 illnesses amid a rapid spread of the fever since late April.

North Korea said 243,630 people had recovered and 280,810 remained in quarantine.

State media did not specify how many fever cases and deaths were confirmed as Covid-19 infections.

The country imposed what it described as maximum preventive measures on Thursday after confirming its first cases of Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic.

Previously, there were more than two years for a largely dubious claim of a perfect record keeping the virus that has spread to almost everywhere in the world.

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North Korea has previously refused UN vaccines (Korea Central News Agency/Korea News Service/AP)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, during a meeting of the ruling party’s Politburo on Saturday, described the outbreak as a “big turning point” historically and called for unity between the government and the people to stabilize the outbreak as quickly as possible.

Officials during the meeting mainly discussed ways to quickly distribute medical supplies that the country has released from its emergency stockpiles, the Pyongyang Central Korean News Agency said.

In a report presented to the Politburo, the North’s emergency epidemic office attributed most of the deaths to “mistakes such as excessive drug use without scientific medical treatment.”

Kim, who said he was donating some of his private drugs to help with the anti-virus campaign, expressed optimism that the country could bring the outbreak under control.

He added that most transmissions are occurring in communities isolated from each other and not spreading from region to region.

He urged officials to draw lessons from other nations’ successful responses to the pandemic and chose an example in China, the North’s main ally.

Experts say a failure to control the spread of Covid-19 could have devastating consequences in North Korea, given the country’s poor healthcare system and its 26 million people are unvaccinated.

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