North Korea reported 21 new deaths among people with a fever on Friday, the state news agency reported Saturday, as the country battles its first COVID-19 outbreak, which state leader Kim Jong Un has called a “major turmoil”.
About 280,810 people have been treated and 27 have died since a fever of unknown origin was reported in the country since late April, KCNA news agency said.
State media did not say whether the new deaths were due to COVID. KCNA said Friday that one death had been confirmed as a result of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
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 to hit the country since its inception, but one that can be overcome, KCNA said. .
The health crisis has been caused by the incompetence and irresponsibility of party organizations in their anti-epidemic response, and efforts must be made to overcome the outbreak in the shortest possible time, KCNA quoted Kim as saying.
(Reporting by Heekyong Yang and Jack Kim; editing by Sandra Maler and Himani Sarkar)