N.Korea says no new fever deaths, COVID situation under control

Army medics involved in distributing medicines work at a pharmacy amid concerns about the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) May 22, 2022 in Pyongyang, North Korea. In this photo released by the country’s Korean Central News Agency on May 23, 2022. KCNA via REUTERS

Sign up now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

SEOUL, May 24 (Reuters) – North Korea said on Tuesday there had been no new deaths among fever patients in the country, the first time since it reported a COVID-19 outbreak almost two weeks ago, adding it saw it a “stable” downward trend in pandemic-related cases.

The COVID-19 wave, which North Korea first declared on May 12, has fueled concerns about a vaccine shortage, inadequate medical infrastructure and a possible food crisis in the country of 25 million people. Continue reading

But the North said it was reporting “successes” in containing the spread of the virus and that no new deaths from fever had been reported as of Monday night, despite the addition of 134,510 new patients.

Sign up now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

It was a third straight day that the daily number stayed below 200,000 and the first time the North has not reported any new deaths since the number of daily fever patients was announced, according to the official KCNA news agency.

North Korea, which appears to be out of test supplies, has not confirmed the total number of people who have tested positive for the coronavirus, but has reported the number with fever symptoms.

The total number of such cases counted since late April rose to 2.95 million, while the death toll stood at 68, according to KCNA.

“Within days of the activation of the maximum emergency epidemic prevention system, the nationwide morbidity and mortality rates have dropped drastically and the number of recovered people has increased, resulting in the ability to effectively contain, control and maintain the spread of the pandemic disease and clearly stable situation said KCNA.

credibility doubted

However, many analysts question the credibility of the figures, saying they only show how difficult it is to assess the true extent of the COVID-19 wave in the isolated country.

“Through a mix of inadequate testing, perverse incentives at lower administrative levels, severe outbreaks, cases, deaths to be reported, and whatever political motivations the top levels may harbor, we have statistics that are essentially nonsense,” Christopher Green, a Korea specialist at Leiden University in the Netherlands, wrote on Twitter.

North Korea said authorities were distributing food and medicines across the country, with military medics deployed to help distribute medicines and conduct health screenings.

The KCNA also said North Korea is expanding production of essential medicines, although it did not explain exactly what types were being produced.

South Korea and the United States have proposed helping North Korea fight the pandemic, including with vaccines, but Pyongyang has not responded to the offer. Continue reading

“Statistically, the daily announcement hardly compares to international standards and seems more geared towards domestic audiences,” said Moon Jin-soo, associate professor at Seoul National University College of Medicine, referring to the North’s reported death rate from 0.002%. .

South Korea’s COVID-19 death rate stood at 0.13% on Tuesday.

South Korea’s spy agency previously told lawmakers that the daily count announced by North Korea appears to include non-COVID-19 patients, as a number of waterborne diseases were already widespread in the country before the coronavirus outbreak was announced.

Sign up now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Reporting by Soo-hyang Choi; Edited by Leslie Adler, Stephen Coates and Muralikumar Anantharaman

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Leave a Comment