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North Korea is on its way to the “final discharge” of the crisis caused by its first recognized COVID-19 outbreak, the state news agency said on Monday, as Asian neighbors grapple with a new wave of infections caused by sub-options of Omicron.
Sever says 99.98% of its 4.77 million fever patients have fully recovered since the end of April, but due to a conspicuous lack of testing, it has not released any data on those who have tested positive.
“The anti-epidemic campaign is being improved to finally completely defuse the crisis,” the KCNA said. He added that the North reported another 310 people with fever symptoms.
World Health Organization cast doubt on North Korea’s claims, saying last month that things were getting worse, not better, amid a lack of independent data.
The North’s announcement could be a prelude to a rebound in trade that has long been thwarted by the pandemic, one analyst said.
“In line with the current trend, in less than a month, North Korea may announce that its COVID-19 crisis is over, and this could be a prelude to the resumption of cross-border trade,” said Cheong Sung-chan, director of the Sejong Institute’s Center for North Korean Studies. in South Korea.
Analysts say the authoritarian North has used the pandemic to tighten already tight social controls. Pyongyang has blamed its outbreak on “aliens” near its border with the South, urging its people to avoid anything that comes from outside.
Every day, new fever cases in North Korea reported by the KCNA have been declining since the reclusive country first admitted in mid-May that it was battling a COVID-19 outbreak.
Due to a lack of public vaccination efforts, the North said it was conducting intensive health screenings across the country, including daily PCR tests on water collected from border areas.
Sever also said it is developing new methods to better detect the virus and its variants, as well as other infectious diseases. e.g. monkeypox.
North Korea’s “anti-epidemic stability” claim came at a time when other Asian countries are grappling with a new wave of infections. China reported 691 new cases on Saturday with local infections at its highest since May 23.
In the neighboring south daily COVID infections jumped more than 40,000 on Tuesday for the first time in two months, with authorities and experts predicting hundreds of thousands of new cases in the coming weeks.
Japan also warned that a new wave of infections appeared to be spreading quickly as Prime Minister Fumio Kishida urged extra caution ahead of the school summer break.
Tokyo’s 16,878 new cases on Wednesday were the highest since February, while the nationwide figure topped 90,000 in a recent spike in infections to levels not seen since the beginning of this year.