North Korea reports 6 Covid deaths and explosive spread

“Like all other data from North Korea, the numbers are subject to debate and we cannot fully trust them,” said Ahn Kyung-su, who operates...


“Like all other data from North Korea, the numbers are subject to debate and we cannot fully trust them,” said Ahn Kyung-su, who operates the Seoul-based company. DPRKHealth.org, a website and network of public health experts who study North Korea. “But what is clear is that North Korea has the Covid phenomenon, and by releasing these numbers, North Korea seems to be sending signals that it is finally ready to accept Covid-related aid from the outside.”

So far, North Korea has not accepted any Covid-19 vaccine donations from world health organizations. South Korean officials hope the humanitarian shipments, including vaccines, could help revive diplomatic dialogue between North Korea and the United States and its allies.

The danger posed by the Covid epidemic is greater in North Korea than in most other countries because most of its inhabitants are not vaccinated. In addition, the epidemic could increase the pressure on the economy, which has already been hit by years of UN sanctions and North Korea’s decision two years ago to close its border with China, its only major trading partner.

“North Koreans are chronically malnourished and unvaccinated, there is hardly any medicine left in the country, and the health infrastructure is unable to cope with this pandemic,” said Lina Yoon, senior researcher at Korea for Human Rights Watch. “The international community should offer medicines for symptoms related to Covid-19, Covid-19 treating antiviral medicines, and provide vaccines and all the infrastructure necessary for the conservation of vaccines, including refrigerators, generators and gasoline.

Hours after admitting the outbreak on Thursday, North Korea launched three ballistic missiles near Pyongyang into the sea off its east coast. It was the North’s 16th missile test this year.

In South Korea, the government of the new chairman, Yoon Suk-yeol, condemned the test as a “serious threat” and a “provocation”, and accused the North of “duplicity” for testing weapons while its people were threatened by the coronavirus. But he said he was ready to ship vaccines, therapeutics and other humanitarian aid north.

In Washington, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said “the United States has no current plans to share vaccines” with North Korea. She said the country “continues to exploit its own citizens” through his politics not to accept humanitarian aid during the pandemic.

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Newsrust - US Top News: North Korea reports 6 Covid deaths and explosive spread
North Korea reports 6 Covid deaths and explosive spread
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