North Korea announces first death from Covid-19, imposes nationwide lockdown.

May 13, 2022

North Korea has confirmed its first COVID-19 death, and says hundreds of thousands of people have “fever”.

The country announced on Thursday its first coronavirus outbreak since the pandemic began.

Six people died after suffering a fever with one testing positive for Covid-19 Omicron variant, state media reported on Friday. It said 187,000 people with a fever were being “isolated and treated” and around 350,000 people had shown signs of fever.

North Korea on Thursday announced its first-ever coronavirus outbreak since the pandemic began. The country’s supreme leader Kim Jong Un – seen wearing a mask on state TV for the first time – has declared a “gravest state of emergency” and ordered nationwide lock after the first-ever case of Covid-19.

The state media has declared it a “severe national emergency incident” after more than two years of purportedly keeping the pandemic at bay.

The country’s top officials, including leader Kim Jong Un, held a crisis politburo meeting to discuss the outbreak and announced they would implement a “maximum emergency” virus control system.

Analysts suggest the latest figures from state media, including the acknowledgement that the unspecified fever had spread nationwide, may indicate the country is experiencing an outbreak unlike any it has seen so far.

Its population of 25 million is vulnerable due to the lack of a vaccination programme and poor healthcare, experts say.

North Korea rejected offers from the international community to supply millions of AstraZeneca and Chinese-made jabs last year. Instead, it claimed it had controlled Covid by sealing its borders early in January 2020.

The country shares land borders with South Korea and China, which have both battled outbreaks. China is now struggling to contain an Omicron wave with lockdowns in its biggest cities. Millions of residents in Shanghai, China have been under strict lockdown for more than a month.