PYONGYANG-(MaraviPost)-North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un has declared national state of emergency following the first confirmed case of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.
Kim Jong Un revealed this during a crisis politburo meeting that was held to discuss the outbreak before the announcement of the maximum national emergency to control the virus.
During the meeting, Kim emphasized on the need to eliminate the root of the virus in the country within the shortest period of time.
The official Korean Central News Agency reported that samples taken from patients sick with fever in the capital were consistent with the virus highly transmissible Omicron variant.
The country was one of two, including Eritrea, on Earth that had not reported an outbreak of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic and it reportedly sealed its borders in January 2020.
South Korea’s Unification Ministry handling the inter-Korean affairs disclosed that the South is willing to provide medical assistance and other help to North Korea based on humanitarian considerations despite the deteriorating relationship between the two since 2019.
Following the announcement North Korea reportedly fired three suspected ballistic missiles toward the sea immediately after confirming the existence of the virus in the country.
It was its 16th round of missile launches this year, in brinkmanship aimed at forcing the United States to accept North Korea as a nuclear power and negotiate sanctions relief and other concessions from a position of strength.
The recent Omicron variant spreads much more easily than earlier variants of the coronavirus, and its fatality and hospitalization rates are high among unvaccinated older people or those with existing health problems.
Experts believe that the nation’s 25 million population is vulnerable due to the poorly resourced healthcare system and lack of a Covid-19 vaccine programme that would make the nation struggle to cope with a major outbreak.
Prior to this, North Korea rejected any kind of vaccine programme offered by other countries. The country instead opted to put the virus in check by sealing its borders despite experts believing the virus has long been present.
In 2021, North Korea was accused of using hackers to break into the computer systems of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer in attempt to obtain vaccine information despite Kim Jong Un’s denial of the presence of coronavirus cases in the country.