N Korea logs rise in fever cases amid move to soften COVID curbs | Coronavirus pandemic News

The daily fever figure rose above 100,000 for the first time in three days amid reports that travel restrictions in Pyongyang may have been eased.

North Korea reported a slight increase in suspected COVID-19 cases on Monday amid media reports that movement restrictions imposed in the capital Pyongyang may have been lifted.

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said 100,710 people developed fever symptoms during the 24-hour period ending at 6pm on Sunday.

The tally is the first time North Korea’s number of suspected COVID-19 cases has risen back above 100,000 in three days and brings the total number of cases reported since late April to more than 3.55 million.

The country has reported 89,500 cases of fever in the previous 24-hour period.

The official death toll remains at 70.

North Korea is wrestle with the unprecedented wave of COVID-19 since declare state of emergency and imposing a nationwide shutdown this month, soaring concerns about shortages of vaccines, medical supplies and food shortages.

A poster depicting a disinfection worker in North Korea in this undated image was released on May 23, 2022 by the country's Korean Central News Agency.
A poster depicting a disinfection worker in North Korea in this undated image released May 23, 2022 by the Korean Central News Agency [KCNA via Reuters]

Since the 12th of May receiving the Omicron outbreak, the country only publishes the daily number of patients with fever symptoms but does not report patients with COVID-19, apparently due to a lack of test kits to confirmed cases of coronavirus in large numbers.

The daily rush peaked at more than 392,000 on May 15 and has been on a downward trend ever since.

Kyodo News Agency of Japan, quote A source in Beijing, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said movement restrictions were lifted in the North Korean capital on Sunday, while South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said the closures had been “relaxed a bit”. part”.

But a spokesman for South Korea’s Unification Ministry that handles inter-Korean affairs said it could not confirm the report, as North Korea’s state media has not yet published the decision.

The reports of the easing of curbs came shortly after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un chaired a politburo meeting to discuss amending anti-epidemic restrictions.

He assessed that the situation of the country’s first COVID-19 outbreak was “improving”, according to KCNA.

The Politburo added: “The Politburo has considered the issue of coordinating and effectively and quickly implementing anti-epidemic regulations and guidelines in the context of the current stable anti-epidemic situation.”

Many outside experts say North Korea is lowering its death rate to prevent any political damage to Kim at home.

They say North Korea should have suffered more deaths because its 26 million people were largely unvaccinated against COVID-19 and the country did not have the capacity to treat sick patients. critical condition. Others suspect North Korea may have exaggerated its previous fever cases to try to increase internal control over its population.

Yang Un-chul, an analyst at the Sejong Institute in South Korea, told the AP news agency that North Korea’s recently heightened restrictive measures must deal a blow to the coal, agricultural and other sectors. The industrial sector employs many other workers.

However, he said those difficulties are likely not going to increase to the point of threatening Mr. Kim’s hold on power, as the COVID-19 outbreak and reinforced containment measures have provided an opportunity for him to increase strengthen population control.

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