North Korea declares first Omicron Covid-19 contagion

Seoul, May 12 (EFE) .- North Korean media reported Thursday the first contagion of the Covid-19 Omicron variant, declaring a state of “maximum emergency” in a country that has not announced any vaccination plan and has not reported a single inoculation to the World Health Organization.

Authorities detected samples of people tested Sunday in Pyongyang who had a fever that are consistent with the omicron variant, according to state news agency KCNA.

The regime, which until now had not confirmed a single positive coronavirus case, made the announcement after various foreign media stated, citing local sources, that a confinement had been decreed Monday in the North Korean capital.

KCNA said the North Korean Workers’ Party politburo held a Thursday meeting chaired by leader Kim Jong-un in which “the challenge of managing the health crisis was discussed.”

Kim himself adopted a resolution to implement the “maximum emergency” in the country, which has been closed since 2020 to try to prevent the virus from entering.

“The politburo criticized the carelessness, laxity, irresponsibility and incompetence of those responsible for the quarantine system, who have failed to respond correctly to the growing volume of virus mutation infections worldwide, including in areas surrounding our country,” KCNA added.

North Korea has maintained a very strict plan that includes preventing anyone from entering the country from abroad, reinforcing border fences, shooting anyone who approaches the divide or thoroughly disinfecting imports it gets from China.

The regime has refused to accept two shipments of the AstraZeneca and Sinovac vaccines made under the COVAX program and is, along with Eritrea, the only country in the world that has not reported a single inoculation to the WHO.

The lack of immunization and the strict controls the regime activates in cases of health emergency are of great concern to humanitarian organizations due to the effects, both on a health and food level, that these strategies may have on the North Korean population. EFE


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