Health officials in North Korea found 269,510 more people with feverish symptoms and reported another six deaths, state media said on Tuesday, as the country grapples with an escalating but largely undiagnosed COVID-19 outbreak.
According to the North's anti-virus headquarters, 56 people have died and more than 1.48 million fell ill amid a rapid spread of fever nationwide since late April and outside experts believe most of the illnesses to be COVID-19. Failing to slow the virus could have dire consequences for North Korea, considering its broken health care system and that its 26 million people are believed to be unvaccinated.
“Without COVID-19 test kits, North Korea is resorting to body temperature checks to guess at infections. But with such a very inferior and inaccurate method of examination, it’s impossible to find asymptomatic virus carriers and control viral surges,” said analyst Cheong Seong-Chang at South Korea’s Sejong Institute.