The World Health Organization lamented on Wednesday that it had no access to information on North Korea’s Kovid-19 outbreak, but acknowledged that the crisis was deepening in the face of Pyongyang’s “progress” reports.
North Korea, which announced its first coronavirus case on May 12, said last week that its Kovid outbreak had been brought under control, with state media reports reducing the caseload.
But WHO emergency director Michael Ryan has questioned that claim.
“We assume the situation is not getting worse,” he told reporters, although the secretive omnipotent state provided very limited information.
“At the moment we are not in a position to make an adequate risk assessment of the situation on the ground,” he said.
Maria Van Kerkhov, head of WHO’s Covid-19, has already said that the country has registered more than three million suspected Covid cases, although official accounts only mention “fever” cases.
The state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported about 96,600 “fever cases” in the first 24 hours of Thursday, a total of 3.8 million cases since the end of April. No new deaths were reported, with 69 killed late last week.
South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported that this was the third consecutive daily decline of less than 100,000 from the height of 390,000 cases per day in mid-May.
Despite having one of the worst health systems in the world, KCNA reported Thursday that more than 95 percent of cases have been recovered.
“Many recoveries have been reported, but we have limited information from the country at the moment,” said Van Kerkhov.
North Korea has also rejected WHO-provided jobs and has not vaccinated its nearly 25 million people.
Ryan emphasized the importance of controlling the spread of the disease in poor countries.
“We have offered assistance on multiple occasions. We have offered vaccines on three separate occasions. We are continuing the offer,” he said.
He said the UN health agency was working with China and South Korea for assistance, “welcoming a very positive attitude towards trying to tackle this joint problem.”
The WHO has repeatedly warned that the virus that spreads Covid-19 spreads out of control, as it is more likely to change and create new, potentially more dangerous forms.
“We don’t want to see an acute outbreak of this disease in a predominantly vulnerable population, a health care system that is already weakened,” Ryan said.
“It’s not. It’s not good for the people (North Korea). It’s not good for the region. It’s not good for the world.”
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)