SEOUL – North Korea said Tuesday there were no new deaths among fever patients in the country, for the first time since it flagged a COVID-19 outbreak about two weeks ago, adding that it was seeing a “steady” downward trend in epidemics. Case
The COVID-19 wave, which North Korea first announced on May 12, has raised concerns about the lack of vaccines, inadequate medical infrastructure and a potential food crisis in 25 million countries.
But the North said they were reporting “success” in preventing the spread of the virus and that no new deaths had been reported from the fever despite adding 134,510 new patients as of Monday evening.
It marked the third day in a row that the daily number was below 200,000 and no new deaths have been reported since the first daily fever patients were announced for the North, according to the official KCNA news agency.
Apparently deprived of the test supplies, North Korea did not confirm the total number of people tested positive for the coronavirus, instead, reported the number with symptoms of fever.
The total number of such cases has risen to 2.95 million since the end of April, according to KCNA, where the death toll stands at 68.
“In the days leading up to the activation of the Emergency Epidemic, the incidence of illness and death has dropped dramatically across the country, and the number of recoveries has increased, effectively reducing and controlling the spread of the epidemic,” he said. The situation is stable, “said KCNA.
Doubt the credibility
Many analysts, however, have questioned the reliability of the statistics, saying that they only show how difficult it is to evaluate the actual scale of COVID-19 waves in isolated countries.
Christopher Green, a Korea expert at Leiden University, said, “Through a combination of inadequate testing, discouragement at the lower administrative level from reporting serious outbreaks, cases, deaths and political motives to top people, we have statistics that are largely meaningless.” In the Netherlands, wrote on Twitter.
North Korea says authorities are distributing food and medicine across the country, and military doctors have been deployed to administer the drugs and conduct health checks.
KCNA also said that North Korea was expanding production to supply essential medicines, although it did not elaborate on exactly what kind of production it was producing.
South Korea and the United States have offered to help North Korea deal with the epidemic, including vaccines, but Pyongyang has not responded.
Moon Jin-su, an associate professor at Seoul National University College of Medicine, said, “Statistically, the daily announcements are rarely comparable to international standards and are more targeted at domestic audiences,” citing the North’s reported death rate of 0.002%. .
South Korea’s COVID-19 mortality rate stood at 0.13% as of Tuesday.
South Korea’s intelligence agency has previously told lawmakers that the daily figures released by North Korea appear to include non-covid-19 patients because a number of waterborne diseases were already widespread in the country before it declared a coronavirus outbreak. (Reporting by Su-Hiang Choi; Editing by Leslie Adler, Stephen Coates and Muralikumar Anantraman)