COVID-19 outbreak in N. Korea worsens; S. Korea to offer medical relief this coming week
Updated: 2022-05-15 12:12:27 KST
Just a few days after admitting the virus has been spreading since late April, North Korea has seen its COVID-19 outbreak explode, reporting almost 300,000 new cases this weekend of what it's calling a "fever of an unknown cause."
State media said the new cases were confirmed between Friday evening and 6 PM Saturday.
They account for more than a third of the North's cases so far, which total around 820-thousand.
Close to 500,000 people have reportedly recovered.
With 15 more deaths reported, the official death toll in the North now stands at 42.
State media are blaming many of these deaths on people taking medicine without knowing enough about the stealth Omicron subvariant and how to properly treat it.
They're also reporting a medicine donation drive among the regime's elite.
South Korean analysts say the regime is likely counting cases of a "fever" instead of COVID-19 because it doesn't have the resources to diagnose the coronavirus on a large scale.
The South Korean government, meanwhile, according to an official on Sunday, plans to officially offer a helping hand early this coming week.
It's expected that the Unification Ministry in Seoul will contact the North after discussing specifics with other ministries.
The international community is also voicing a willingness to send medical relief.
The U.S. State Department earlier expressed support for the global vaccine-sharing program COVAX to send the North Pfizer vaccines should it choose to do so.
North Korea has so far declined to take vaccines from COVAX, though the program reiterated earlier this year that it's willing to send them.
Han Seong-woo, Arirang News.