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North Korea announces first COVID death with 350,000 treated for fever spreading 'explosively'

North Korea announced its first COVID death today, just days after it confirmed its first coronavirus case.

According to the North’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), 350,000 people have been treated in response to a fever that spread rapidly across the country.

KCNA reported that five more people died. However, it was not immediately clear how many of these illnesses were from .

The country’s leader called for a tight national lockdown on Thursday after state media confirmed that there was an Omicron outbreak.

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According to KCNA, 162,200 of the 350,000 who had fevers in April were able to recover.

The report also stated that 18,000 people had been found with fever symptoms in the last 24 hours, and that 187,800 people are currently being treated.

On Thursday, Mr Kim visited the emergency prevention headquarters and criticized officials for not preventing “a vulnerable point” in the epidemic prevention system.

More information on Covid-19

He stated that the capital is the center of the spreading of the fever and stressed the importance of isolating residential and work units from each other while providing convenience during lockdown.

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Kim is pictured with a face-mask for the first time

It is possible that the virus spread faster than expected due to a huge military parade in the capital on April 25, where Mr Kim displayed the most powerful missiles from his military before tens and thousands.

Cheong Seong Chang, an analyst at South Korea’s Sejong Institute said that the rapid spread of the flu virus suggests that the crisis could continue for months, possibly even into 2023, disrupting the country’s infrastructure.

Yesterday’s announcement about the virus outbreak raised concerns about the country’s health system and 26 million people who are not vaccinated.

Image: Kim watches the military parade marking the 90th anniversary North Korea’s army’s establishment on 25 April. Pic: KCNA/AP

North Korea has not yet accepted vaccines from the UN-backed COVAX distribution program. This could be because they have international monitoring requirements.

The country also closed its borders to almost all visitors and trade for the past two years. This shocked an already fragile economy that was already suffering from crippling US sanctions on its missile programme and nuclear weapons.

Experts believe that the outbreak announcement may indicate a willingness to accept outside assistance.

Zhao Lijian, spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry, stated that North Korea was offered assistance in fighting the outbreak.

The Unification Ministry of South Korea, which deals with inter-Korean affairs said that the South is willing to provide medical aid and other assistance to North Korea on humanitarian grounds.

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