N. Korean leader Kim Jong-un condemns medication supply issues at Politburo meeting; More than 390,000 suspected COVID-19 cases reported on Monday
Updated: 2022-05-16 17:05:30 KST
COVID-19 continues to take a toll on North Korea.
The North's National Emergency Quarantine Command Center confirmed on Monday that 3-hundred-92,9-hundred-20 new suspected cases of the virus was reported on Sunday.
There were 8 additional deaths, to bring the total to 50.
However, figures for tallies could be underreported due to shortage in testing equipment.
Amid the escalating number of infections, the regime's leader Kim Jong-un criticized the supply of medication to pharmacies during a politburo meeting of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea on Sunday.
The state-run Korean Central News Agency reported that Kim reprimanded relevant officials for the delay in supplying previously ordered medication and for failing to regulate increased stockpiling and illegal distribution of medicine.
The KCNA added that Kim laid out fresh virus prevention measures during the meeting, including mobilizing troops to stabilize medical supplies in the capital, Pyeongyang.
Meanwhile, in an effort to contain the virus, Pyeongyang has reportedly asked Beijing for anti-virus supplies.
According to sources familiar with North Korea-China relations on Sunday, relevant discussions are currently underway, although no further details were given.
China has previously said it will immediately provide assistance upon the North's request.
The border between the two countries remains closed to contain the virus, but could reopen for supply shipments.
However, despite attempts to curb the spread of COVID-19, forecasters say that Pyeongyang could ultimately fail in their efforts.
An analysis by CNN on Sunday local time pointed to a lack of health care infrastructure and testing equipment in the North which could hinder it from treating a large number of patients suffering from an infectious disease.
It added the regime possesses one of the world's most fragile public health systems and a widely unvaccinated population paints a grim picture of the future there.
Song Yoo-jin, Arirang News.