North Korea reports victory over Corona: “An amazing miracle”

Status: 08/11/2022 10:33 a.m

North Korea has defeated the corona virus – at least that’s what the state leadership claims. She speaks of an “amazing miracle” – three months after the outbreak there were no more new cases. Foreign experts doubt that.

Three months after the confirmation of the first corona outbreak in the country, North Korea claims to have defeated the virus. The state news agency KCNA reported that ruler Kim Jong Un has ordered the lifting of all measures to protect against the spread of the corona virus. Kim’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, told the agency the ruler was suffering from a fever himself. It is the first time that North Korea has acknowledged the dictator’s possible corona infection.

The number of daily fever cases hit several hundred thousand in the first days of the outbreak and dropped to below 90,000 a month later, Kim Yo Jong said, according to KCNA. Since July 29, no infection has been reported that was suspected to be related to “the bad virus”. Although not a single vaccination was given, the country defeated the virus in a short time: “An amazing miracle that will go down in world public health history.”

Experts doubt the statements

North Korea admitted the outbreak in May and has since reported around 4.8 million “fever cases” among its 26 million inhabitants. Only a fraction of the diseases were identified as Covid-19. Officially, the country speaks of 74 deaths. Experts doubt that: North Korea has one of the worst health systems in the world. The hospitals are poorly equipped and only have a few intensive care units. Offers of help, including from South Korea, were rejected.

Observers assume that North Korea embellished the figures in order to make ruler Kim appear in a good light in the face of growing economic difficulties. The declaration of having defeated the virus could mean that Kim now wants to turn to other issues.

Kim Yo Jong, the ruler’s sister.

Image: dpa

Kim Yo Jong threatens South Korea with retaliation

The statements by Kim’s sister, according to which South Korea carried the virus to the north with leaflets on balloons, are viewed with concern by experts – especially since Kim Yo Jong has now threatened his southern neighbor with retaliation. Leif-Eric Easley, a professor of international studies at Ewha Women’s University in Seoul, said it may justify another military provocation. North Korea first claimed in July that the corona outbreak started with people who had come into contact with objects from South Korea.

Foreign experts suspect the virus entered the country when North Korea briefly reopened its northern border with China to freight traffic in January. The virus continued to spread after a military parade and other major events in Pyongyang in April.

With information from Kathrin Erdmann, ARD Studio Tokyo

North Korea declares end of pandemic

Kathrin Erdmann, ARD Tokyo, 11.8.2022 09:29 a.m

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