North Korea on Saturday reported 21 people who died “while having a fever.” Another 280,810 people with symptoms are currently being treated, state news agency KCNA reports. In the past 24 hours, 174,440 people were diagnosed with fever.
North Korea made the first official report of an infection with the corona virus on Thursday. A day later, the first death from the virus was reported. The cause of death of five other people who died with a fever is still being investigated. That number is now likely to rise.
According to KCNA, “a mysterious fever” has been circulating in the country since the end of April. Hundreds of thousands of people are said to be infected, some of which have now been cured. It is not known whether people also tested positive for corona. According to experts, North Korea lacks the capacity to test on a large scale.
State media report that many of the deaths are the result of negligence. Patients are said to have overdosed on medicines due to a lack of knowledge about scientific treatment methods.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un called the outbreak “a major disaster” and “the worst plague our country has faced since its inception.” On Thursday, Kim already announced a national lockdown.
North Korea has maintained for two years that no one in the country had contracted the virus. That claim is widely doubted. For example, Kim Jong-un fired several senior officials a year ago because they allegedly failed to implement government policy against corona. They had thus caused ‘a major crisis’, according to the leader, who did not go into details.
North Korea also shares a nearly 1,000-mile border with China, which is far from well-guarded. The number of infections has risen sharply in recent weeks in the Chinese border city of Dandong.
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