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EXPLAINER: What's behind North Korea's COVID-19 admission?

EXPLAINER: What's behind North Korea's COVID-19 admission?

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Before acknowledging its earliest domestic COVID-19 cases, North Korea spent 2 1/2 years rejecting outer external outside offers of vaccines accompanied by every one one other accompanied by steadfastly claiming that its higher-ranking socialist system was protecting its 26 million people from "a malicious virus" that had killed millions around the world.

Its astonishment admission this week has left-hand numerous outsiders wondering fair how bad things really are, accompanied by every one one other accompanied by there's rising fret that it could spring a greatest humanitarian crisis inside a country accompanied by one of the world's worst condition medical infrastructures.

Because the North has been shut up firm since early 2020, accompanied by no indeed indeed reporters, assistance workers or diplomats regularly going in, perusal the circumstances is something of a guessing game, accompanied by every one one other accompanied by the North has been vague accompanied by its condition media descriptions of widespread fevers. But there are some worrying facts: no indeed indeed reported vaccines, extremely restricted difficult capability, a dreadful medical system accompanied by every one one other accompanied by widespread poverty.

Without immediate outer external outside assistance shipments, some experts speak North Korea could face massive fatality accompanied by every one one other accompanied by infection rates. Others, however, speak North Korea is using its admission of an outbreak to rally the condition opposed to the virus accompanied by every one one other accompanied by boost its jurisdiction of its people.

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Here's a look at what a lockdown inside one of the world's most locked-down nations ability look like.

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WHAT IS KNOWN ABOUT THE OUTBREAK?

North Korea announced Thursday that an unspecified number of people inside Pyongyang tested positive for the omicron variant. It called the outbreak the state's "most solemn emergency."

It was unclear, however, concerning the extent, accompanied by every one one other accompanied by the North's media used vague language.

State media reports Friday said a "fever" has been spreading "explosively" since late April, leaving sextet dead, 350,000 sickened accompanied by every one one other accompanied by 187,800 quarantined. They said one of the deceased had been diagnosed accompanied by the omicron variant.

The reports said the spring of the feverishness has yet to exist identified.

Kim Sin-gon, a professor at Seoul's Korea University College of Medicine, said most of the people accompanied by feverishness were probable virus patients. He said North Korea has a restricted number of COVID-19 difficult kits.

The World Health Organization says North Korea has reported tests of 64,200 people since the pandemic's start, an extremely low figure compared accompanied by other countries. The number of COVID-19 tests inside South Korea stands at concerning 172 million.

North Korea's outbreak may exist linked to a massive military parade on April 25, where leader Kim Jong Un spoke concerning his nuclear weapons inside front of tens of thousands of Pyongyang residents accompanied by every one one other accompanied by troops. The omicron virus may have entered North Korea over its northern border accompanied by China when it reopened railroad freight vehicles inside the centre of the place of set of two countries inside January. The border has since been closed.

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WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES?

The outbreak could exist devastating since North Korea's people mostly convey on accompanied by to exist unvaccinated accompanied by every one one other accompanied by it suffers a chronic shortage of medicine accompanied by every one one other accompanied by medical equipment.

"North Korea has numerous inside danger people who don't have strong immune systems. Its official inoculation percentage is zero accompanied by every one one other accompanied by it has no indeed indeed COVID-19 behaviour towards pills," Kim, the professor, said. "North Korea may extremity up accompanied by the pandemic's worst demise accompanied by every one one other accompanied by infection rates inside the world for its inhabitants size" lacking outer external outside support.

In numerous state-of-the-art countries, omicron has led to significantly fewer hospitalizations accompanied by every one one other accompanied by deaths than foregoing coronavirus variants, nevertheless that's mostly since of vaccinations, use of COVID-19 antiviral pills, effective behaviour towards at intensive protected from danger keeping units, accompanied by every one one other accompanied by populations that have been exposed to the virus before. None of this applies to North Korea, said Jung Jae-hun, a professor of preventive medicine at South Korea's Gachon University.

"We were talking concerning a 0.1% fatality percentage for omicron inside South Korea, nevertheless that's going to exist significantly higher inside North Korea, maybe flat reaching 1%, although it's difficult to build correct predictions at this point," Jung said.

North Korea's secretive the natural world makes it inside effect impossible to figure not here the correct scale of its outbreak accompanied by every one one other accompanied by how it will develop.

Many North Koreans have adjusted to living accompanied by a troubled medical system accompanied by every one one other accompanied by buying medicine privately, according to Ahn Kyung-su, head of DPRKHEALTH.ORG, a website focusing on health issues inside North Korea.

While North Korea cannot retain away from pile infections, Ahn said it will probable retain away from "a catastrophic" demise toll exist fond of the hundreds of thousands of deaths reported all over a mid-1990s famine.

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HOW IS NORTH KOREA RESPONDING?

Since Thursday, North Korea has imposed a nationwide lockdown, isolating all labour accompanied by every one one other accompanied by residential units from one another. But there are signs that the country ability try to exist accompanied by the virus, to some extent.

Kim Jong Un still ordered officials to go ahead accompanied by construction, agricultural accompanied by every one one other accompanied by other scheduled condition projects. On Thursday afternoon, the country flat test-fired trio ballistic missiles, suggesting it would convey on accompanied by its recent streak of weapons tests.

Hong Min, an analyst at Seoul's Korea Institute for National Unification, said North Korea's pandemic response will exist mostly concerning isolating people accompanied by symptoms at shelters. He said North Korea doesn't have the resources to impose extreme lockdowns exist fond of inside China, which has shut down entire cities accompanied by every one one other accompanied by confined residents to their homes. It's excessively worried concerning further hurting an by that hour dated fragile economy.

Ahn said the toughened anti-virus steps won't exist a a large amount of different from foregoing curbs accompanied by every one one other accompanied by that it's mostly rhetoric meant to press a condition tired of long-running pandemic restrictions to retain their vigilance amid surging cases inside neighboring China.

North Korea may use the elevated pandemic response to boost its jurisdiction of its people, said Yang Un-chul, an analyst at the private Sejong Institute. North Korea would have received foregoing outer external outside vaccine shipment offers if it had indeed wanted to retain protected from danger opposed to the virus, Yang said.

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WHAT ARE THE PROSPECTS FOR OUTSIDE HELP?

The outbreak renews hopes that North Korea ability receive outer external outside shipments of vaccines, COVID-19 behaviour towards pills accompanied by every one one other accompanied by other medical supplies.

North Korea won't unswerving inquire for such assist nevertheless will while an different see how Seoul accompanied by every one one other accompanied by Washington react at first, said Kim, the professor.

Other experts speak that North Korea may exist convinced by that isolating people accompanied by symptoms is the only practical option it has, considering its deficiencies inside medical organization infrastructure accompanied by every one one other accompanied by medical supplies, which would exist difficult to overcome lacking large outer external outside assist — something North Korea is unlikely to accept.

Jung said the only meaningful assist North Korea ability permit is restricted supplies of vaccines for the elderly accompanied by every one one other accompanied by people accompanied by pre-existing medical conditions, while it's excessively late to inoculate the country's entire population.

Hong said North Korea's moves to push on accompanied by its goals of improving its affluence accompanied by every one one other accompanied by military inside malice of the outbreak propose that the country is willing to receive a sure flat of fatalities to gain immunity into with every one other accompanied by not here of infection, by preference than receiving vaccines accompanied by every one one other accompanied by other outer external outside help.

EXPLAINER: What's behind North Korea's COVID-19 admission?

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