Seoul: North Korea on Thursday confirmed its first case of Covid19, with state media declaring it a “major national emergency” after more than two years of reportedly keeping the pandemic at bay.
The official KCNA news agency said samples taken from sick patients with fever in Pyongyang on Sunday were “compatible with” the highly transmissible omicron variant of the virus.
The country’s top officials, including leader Kim Jong Un, held an emergency Politburo meeting to discuss the outbreak and announced that they would implement a “maximum emergency” virus control system.
KCNA said Kim told the meeting that “the goal was to remove the root in the shortest amount of time.” “He assured us that because of the high political consciousness of the people we will surely overcome the emergency and win the emergency quarantine project,” he said.
Cities and counties across the country,” KCNA said. All trade and production activities will be organized in such a way that each work unit is “isolated” to prevent the spread of diseases, he added.
The impoverished, nuclear-armed nation has been behind a strict, self-imposed coronavirus lockdown since early 2020 to protect itself from the pandemic, with the economy suffering and trade all but halting. , North Korea had not confirmed a single coronavirus case as of Thursday.
According to the World Health Organization, North Korea had conducted 13,259 Covid-19 tests, all negative by the end of 2020. Analysts have said North Korea’s collapsing health system would struggle to cope with a major virus outbreak.