North Korea reports over 232,000 new 'fever' cases in suspected COVID outbreak
The Anews reprted, citing the Anadolu Agency, North Korea has reported over 232,000 more cases of "fever" and six related fatalities over the past day in a suspected COVID-19 outbreak.
The figures were released Wednesday by the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). But so far, North Korea has refused to link the rising cases with coronavirus-like symptoms to the pandemic.
After the initial cases were reported in April, the case count has since reached 1.71 million with 62 deaths.
So far, over one million people have recovered and some 691,170 are under treatment.
The government has ordered pharmacies to remain open 24 hours a day and deployed the army to assist in the supply of medicines.
On Tuesday, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un while addressing a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) criticized officials for not taking practical measures to timely prevent the outbreak of the virus.
KCNA quoted Kim as saying: "The non-positive attitude, slackness and non-activity of state leading officials fully disclosed the vulnerable points and vacuum of our work and resulted in further increasing the complexity and hardships only in the early period of the epidemic prevention campaign in which time is the life."
North Korea is among the few countries which did not report any cases since the pandemic began more than two years ago. The country's prevention strategy relied on a complete border shutdown since January 2020
It should be noted that the World Health Organization (WHO) has no records of any COVID-19 vaccinations in the country of over 25 million, with Pyongyang having turned down repeated offers of vaccine supplies from the international community.