North Korea reported 21 new deaths on Friday among people with a fever, the state news agency reported Saturday, as the country grapples with its first COVID-19 outbreak that state leader Kim Jong Un called a “major upheaval.”
Some 280,810 people were being treated and 27 people have died since a fever of unidentified origin began to be reported in the country from late April, the KCNA news agency said.
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State media did not say whether the new deaths were due to COVID. KCNA said on Friday that one death had been confirmed to be due to the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
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The reports were made at a meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party early Saturday attended by leader Kim, who said the outbreak was a major disaster for the country since its founding but can be overcome, KCNA said.
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The health crisis has been caused by the incompetence and irresponsibility of party organizations in their response against the epidemic, and efforts should be made to overcome the outbreak in the shortest possible time, Kim was quoted as saying by KCNA.
(Reporting by Heekyong Yang and Jack Kim; Editing by Sandra Maler and Himani Sarkar)