Kim Jong Un has ordered a rigorous nationwide lockdown following the confirmation of a COVID-19 outbreak in Pyongyang, the capital, the Korean Central News Agency reported Thursday. This is the only instance of COVID-19 that North Korea has acknowledged during the two-year pandemic, while most outside specialists doubted that the country had avoided the virus.
According to KCNA, Kim convened an emergency Politburo meeting to discuss the epidemic and ordered towns and counties to be quarantined. Workplaces to be isolated by the unit to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The news agency did not specify the size or severity of the outbreak. Since Kim refused vaccination offers from China and the UN-backed COVAX distribution program, it is thought that few of North Korea's 26 million inhabitants have been immunized.
Leif-Eric Easley, a professor of international studies at South Korea's Ewha Woman's University, stated, "For Pyongyang to publicly admit omicron cases, the public health situation must be serious," "This does not mean that North Korea will suddenly accept humanitarian aid and adopt a more conciliatory approach toward Washington and Seoul. However, the home audience of the Kim government may be less interested in nuclear or missile testing if the current threat is a coronavirus rather than an outside force."
North Korea could avoid significant outbreaks by securing its border earlier in the epidemic. However, in January, it began cross-border rail freight commerce with China. China again banned trade in April following the attack of COVID-19 in Liaoning province, which borders North Korea.
With North Korea's acknowledged outbreak, there are now only a handful of countries that have reported no COVID-19 cases, according to The Associated Press. These countries include Turkmenistan, whose claim of being COVID-free is also widely disputed, and a handful of Pacific Island nations, primarily Tuvalu, with a population of 12,000.