North Korea reports no new fever cases for first time since Covid-19 outbreak

By Reuters   July 29, 2022 | 04:07 pm PT
North Korea reports no new fever cases for first time since Covid-19 outbreak
Army medics involved medicine supply distribution work amid the Covid-19 pandemic in Pyongyang, North Korea May 22, 2022 in this photo released May 23, 2022 by the country's Korean Central News Agency KCNA via Reuters.
North Korea reported no new fever cases on Saturday (Jul 30) for the first time since its acknowledgement of a Covid outbreak in the isolated country in mid-May, state-run media reported.

North Korea said earlier this month it was on a path to "finally defuse" its first publicly declared coronavirus crisis even as Asian neighbours experience a resurgence in infections driven by Omicron subvariants.

The official KCNA news agency said 99.99 per cent of its 4.77 million fever patients since late April have fully recovered, but because of an apparent lack of testing, it has not released any figures on people who tested positive for the virus.

Infectious disease experts have cast doubts on North Korea's claims, with the World Health Organization saying last month it believed the situation was getting worse, not better, amid an absence of independent data.

KCNA said a rapid mobile treatment force is still on high alert and efforts are under way to "detect and stamp out the epidemic" until the last patient is fully recovered. The state media said 204 fever patients were under treatment as of Friday.

Pyongyang's possible declaration of victory against Covid-19 could be a prelude to restoring trade long hampered by the pandemic, North Korea analysts said.

Trade volume plunged 17.3 per cent to US$710 million last year amid a strict closure of borders.

North Korea temporarily resumed freight train operations with China early this year, but suspended them again in April over heightened fears of the coronavirus spreading.

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