100s of titles, one news app for just $10 a month.
Dive Deeper:
North Korea reports first Covid death amid explosive spread of ‘fever’
Around 350,000 people have shown signs of a ‘fever’, North Korean state media said
North Korea Confirms First Covid-19 Death in 'Explosive' Outbreak
North Korea confirmed its first ever Covid-19 death on Friday, saying fever was spreading "explosively" nationwide and tens of thousands…
North Korea confirms first Covid-19 death in 'explosive' outbreak
Seoul (AFP) - North Korea confirmed its first Covid-19 death on Friday, saying fever was spreading "explosively" nationwide and tens of…
North Korea announces ‘explosive’ outbreak of Covid, confirming six deaths and 350,000 potential cases
North Korea announced an “explosive” Covid outbreak on Thursday, with six dead and 350,000 potential cases across the country since…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
N.Korea reports first COVID-19 death as fever spreads 'explosively'
At least one person confirmed to have COVID-19 has died in North Korea and hundreds of thousands have shown fever…
6 dead, tens of thousands infected as North Korea reports first COVID outbreak
North Korea says six people have died amid an 'explosive' spread of fever, a day after it acknowledged a COVID-19…
Get all your news in one place
Latest Health news:
Plant-based diets on menu for health study
The researchers want to know what Australians consume when they follow plant-based diets.
Read news from The Economist, FT, Bloomberg and more, with one subscription
Learn More
U.K. report ties hepatitis in kids to dogs — an immunologist points out a major flaw
Before you stop your children from going near your family dog, it’s worth looking at the results in detail
Appearing stressed out could have one paradoxical effect on others
It turns out that humans are quite good at recognizing when someone is feeling stressed
Love and Risk in the Time of COVID-19
My partner is an organ transplant recipient. We’ve spent years of testing for potential danger in every decision. What’s next?
Most-effective core exercises: Why traditional sit-ups may not be best
Boosting your ab game takes work — and the first step is to let go of the idea that “abs”…
From analysis to good news, read the world’s best news in one place
States expanding Medicaid coverage of maternity services
More than half of states have taken recent steps toward lengthening the postpartum coverage period.
Jakartans trust the government more compared to people in South Sulawesi, and that influenced COVID-19 prevention compliance
Just like many countries, the Indonesian government imposed control measures to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, including social distancing,…

North Korea confirms first COVID death; 350,000 reporting ‘fever’

North Korea has confirmed its first COVID death, a day after confirming an outbreak of the coronavirus for the first time [KCNA via Reuters]

North Korea has confirmed its first COVID-19 death, and says hundreds of thousands of people have “fever”, in the first indication of the scale of the outbreak in its largely unvaccinated population.

The nuclear-armed country announced on Thursday its first coronavirus outbreak since the pandemic began, moving into lockdown after it said people in the capital, Pyongyang, tested positive for the Omicron variant.

“A fever whose cause couldn’t be identified explosively spread nationwide from late April,” the official Korean Central News Agency said on Friday.

“Six persons died (one of them tested positive for the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron),” it added.

About 350,000 people have shown signs of “fever”, while 187,800 people are being treated in isolation, according to KCNA.

Experts worry North Korea’s crumbling health system will be unable to cope with the spread of COVID-19 given that its 26 million people have not been vaccinated against the virus after Pyongyang rejected millions of doses offered under the WHO-led COVAX programme. The country also has limited testing resources.

“With the first official news of a COVID-19 outbreak in the country, continuing on this path could cost many lives and would be an unconscionable dereliction of upholding the right to health,” Amnesty International’s East Asia Researcher Boram Jang said in a statement.

Many North Koreans are also in poor health as a result of food shortages and malnutrition, making it more difficult for their immune systems to fight the disease.

A 2019 study ranked North Korea 193 out of 195 countries in its capability to cope with a healthcare crisis.

“It is vital that the government acts now to protect the right to health of one of the world’s populations with lowest access to vaccines and one of its most fragile health systems. That means providing access to vaccines without discrimination and guaranteeing a transparent vaccine distribution plan which is subject to public scrutiny,” Jang said.

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 lockdowns in an attempt to halt the spread of the virus.

KCNA said Kim was briefed during a visit to the state emergency epidemic prevention headquarters on Thursday where he criticised officials for their handling of the outbreak.

“It is the most important challenge and supreme tasks facing our party to reverse the immediate public health crisis situation at an early date, restore the stability of epidemic prevention and protect the health and wellbeing of our people,” KCNA quoted Kim as saying.

North Korea held large celebrations last month, including to celebrate 110 years since the birth of founder Kim II Sung, Analysts say with few wearing masks the events could have helped spread the virus [KCNA via Reuters]

North Korea has said the first cases emerged in the capital of Pyongyang in April.

While state media did not elaborate on the cause, the city hosted several massive public celebrations that month, where most people did not wear masks.

“Holding a military parade attended by a large crowd, when Omicron was raging in neighbouring China, shows Pyongyang was overconfident in their capabilities to fight and prevent the virus,” Cheong Seong-chang of the Sejong Institute told the AFP news agency.

North Korea was likely to see “major chaos” due to the rapid spread of Omicron, he said, given that the country is currently reporting nearly 20,000 cases in a single day.

“If the death toll from Omicron spikes, Pyongyang may have to ask for China’s support,” he added.

China, Pyongyang’s main ally, is trying to stamp out dozens of outbreaks of the coronavirus and has enforced lockdowns and restrictions in cities including Dandong, the main crossing point to North Korea.

It said on Thursday it was ready to provide assistance although Pyongyang previously rejected its offer to send vaccines.

On Friday, South Korea also offered help with a presidential spokeswoman saying President Yun Seok-yeol wanted to provide the North Korean people with vaccines and other medicines for COVID-19 on humanitarian grounds.

North Korea had not yet made a “request for assistance”, the president’s office said and delivery would depend on talks with Pyongyang.

What is inkl?
The world’s most important news, from 100+ trusted global sources, in one place.
Morning Edition
Your daily
news overview

Morning Edition ensures you start your day well informed.

No paywalls, no clickbait, no ads
Enjoy beautiful reading

Content is only half the story. The world's best news experience is free from distraction: ad-free, clickbait-free, and beautifully designed.

Expert Curation
The news you need to know

Stories are ranked by proprietary algorithms based on importance and curated by real news journalists to ensure that you receive the most important stories as they break.

Dive Deeper:
North Korea reports first Covid death amid explosive spread of ‘fever’
Around 350,000 people have shown signs of a ‘fever’, North Korean state media said
North Korea Confirms First Covid-19 Death in 'Explosive' Outbreak
North Korea confirmed its first ever Covid-19 death on Friday, saying fever was spreading "explosively" nationwide and tens of thousands…
North Korea confirms first Covid-19 death in 'explosive' outbreak
Seoul (AFP) - North Korea confirmed its first Covid-19 death on Friday, saying fever was spreading "explosively" nationwide and tens of…
North Korea announces ‘explosive’ outbreak of Covid, confirming six deaths and 350,000 potential cases
North Korea announced an “explosive” Covid outbreak on Thursday, with six dead and 350,000 potential cases across the country since…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
N.Korea reports first COVID-19 death as fever spreads 'explosively'
At least one person confirmed to have COVID-19 has died in North Korea and hundreds of thousands have shown fever…
6 dead, tens of thousands infected as North Korea reports first COVID outbreak
North Korea says six people have died amid an 'explosive' spread of fever, a day after it acknowledged a COVID-19…
Get all your news in one place