Authorities have increased the number of new patients nearly tenfold in just 24 hours
North Korea has reported a massive increase in a mysterious “fever” outbreak, including nearly two dozen additional deaths and tens of thousands of new cases. Kim Jong-un called the outbreak one of the biggest “torments” in the history of the nation.
Health officials have confirmed 174,440 “new cases of fever” nationwide and 21 deaths on Friday – up from just six deaths the day before – the KCNA, a state-run body, reported, noting that the total number of patients had topped 524,000 since late April. Some 288,810 people are now in quarantine or receiving treatment.
Speaking at a Politburo meeting, Head of State Kim Jong-un stressed the “the effectiveness of regional blockades and unit-by-unit containment measures”, calling for a “meticulous” government response and further efforts to “scientifically raise quarantine awareness to everyone.”
“The spread of this virulent infectious disease in our country is one of the greatest periods of unrest since the founding of our state, just as the spread of the coronavirus is very serious in the world,” he added. Kim added.
While officials confirmed a patient carried the Covid-19 Omicron variant before succumbing to the “fever,” they refrained from attributing any other cases or deaths to the virus causing the global pandemic. Prior to this first patient, the government claimed to have kept Covid-19 out of North Korea entirely with severe border closures.
The first confirmed case of fever triggered a “maximum emergency quarantine system” and strict lockdowns across the country earlier this week, with the government pledging to tighten containment measures across “all institutions and all sectors of the country, including party, administrative and economic institutions at all levels”.