North Koreans cheer missile launch in bizarre propaganda film
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The WHO has questioned whether Pyongyang is dealing with North Korea’s coronavirus outbreak amid an absence of independent data. State media in North Korea has suggested a recent wave of COVID-19 cases has been abated.
The number of people who contracted coronavirus topped 390,000 approximately two weeks ago.
Speaking about the situation in North Korea last month, SOAS lecturer Owen Miller said: “It looks really bad.”
He added: “They are facing the rampant spread of Omicron without protection from vaccines, without much – if any – immunity in the population and without access to most of the drugs that have been used to treat Covid elsewhere.”
However, while North Korea has never confirmed the number of people who have tested positive, experts suggest underreporting by Pyongyang is making it even more difficult to assess the situation.
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WHO emergencies chief Michael Ryan said during a video briefing Wednesday: “We assume the situation is getting worse, not better.”
Mr Ryan also claimed the WHO did not have access to any privileged information beyond the numbers reported by state-run media outlets.
He added: “We have real issues in getting access to the raw data and to the actual situation on the ground.”
However, Ryan claimed neighbouring nations, such as South Korea and China, are working with the WHO to try and get a clearer picture.
The World Health Organisation has offered to provide assistance to North Korea on multiple occasions.
Mr Ryan stressed this included vaccines and other supplies.
According to Reuters, state news agency KCNA said on Thursday that North Korea reported 96,610 more people showing fever amid its nationwide lockdown.
The news outlet failed to mention whether there were any deaths as a result of the infections.
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According to the Guardian, despite having one of the worst health systems in the world, KCNA reported on Thursday that more than 95 percent of cases had recovered.
Upon visiting a pair of pharmaceutical factories, North Korean premier Kim Tok Hun said: “Sufficient production and supply of medicines serve as a prerequisite to protecting the people’s lives and health in the current rigorous anti-epidemic campaign.”
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