Coronavirus in North Korea: Kim Jong Un blasts health authorities and mobilizes the army

Sylvie Claire / May 16, 2022


Kim Jong Un on Monday blasted North Korea's health authorities for their handling of the Covid-19 outbreak, which has killed 50 people since it officially appeared in the country, and ordered the military to mobilize.
In a sign of the seriousness of the situation, the North Korean leader strongly criticized the government and the public health sector for their irresponsible attitude, reported the state agency KCNA.
At a Politburo meeting, he complained that pharmacies were not open 24 hours a day. Officials in charge of drug supply have not rolled up their sleeves and have not properly assessed the current crisis, he lamented, according to KCNA.
He ordered the military to get to work to immediately stabilize the supply of medicine in Pyongyang, where the first cases of Covid-19 in North Korea were officially detected last week.
Kim Jong Un has personally taken charge of the fight against the epidemic, which he says is causing great upheaval in the country, whose population is not vaccinated.
The leader oversees near-daily emergency meetings of the Politburo, and North Korean media released photos of him visiting a pharmacy in Pyongyang on Sunday.
Despite large-scale containment, 1,213,550 people have been infected, 50 have died and 564,860 are undergoing medical treatment, according to KCNA, which does not specifically cite Covid-19 but refers to fever.
North Korea's health care system was ranked 193rd out of 195 countries in a study by the American Johns Hopkins University last year. The country's hospitals are poorly equipped, with few intensive care units. According to experts, the country has no treatment for Covid-19 and lacks the capacity to massively test its population.
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