North Korea says 42 dead as virus lockdown begins

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North Korea says 42 dead as virus lockdown begins

North Korea said on Sunday a total of 42 people had died, as the country began its fourth day under a nationwide lockdown aimed at stopping the country's first confirmed Covid 19 outbreak.

At least 296,180 more people came down with fever symptoms, and 15 more had died as of Sunday, the outlet said.

North Korea admitted on Thursday that it is battling an explosive Covid 19 outbreak has raised concerns that the virus could damage a country with an under-resourced health system, limited testing capabilities and no vaccine programme.

State news agency KCNA said the country was taking swift state emergency measures to control the epidemic, but there was no sign that Pyongyang was moving to accept international offers of vaccine.

Since the morning of May 12th, all provinces, cities and counties of the country have been locked down and a strict and intensive examination of all the people is being conducted, according to KCNA.

A day earlier in the day, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said the spread of Covid-19 had thrust his country into great turmoil and called for an all-out battle to overcome the outbreak.

Despite the lock-ins, Kim and other senior officials attended funeral services for Yang Hyong-sop, a former head of state during the reign of Kim's father, Kim Jong-il, according to KCNA.

Health authorities set up more epidemic prevention posts, and urgently transported medical supplies to hospitals and clinics, while senior officials donated reserve medicines, according to KCNA.

The report said that a large number of deaths have been due to people careless in taking drugs due to the lack of knowledge and understanding of stealth Omicron variant virus infection disease and its correct treatment method.

Korean Central Television broadcast treatments for the flu on Saturday night. A doctor at Kimmanyu hospital suggested gargling with salt water and taking different medications in case of high temperature, headache and muscle and joint pains.

KCNA also suggested drinking Lonicera japonica tea or willow leaf tea three times a day.

Experts say that North Korea doesn't have the capacity to test those tens of thousands of symptomatic patients. The KCNA did not report how many of those suspected cases had tested positive for Covid - 19.

North Korea has reported 820,620 suspected cases, with 324,550 still under medical treatment, according to KCNA.

North Korea, one of the two countries in the world that have yet to start a Covid vaccine campaign, has previously claimed no confirmed cases of the disease, according to the World Health Organization.

Aid organisations have said that its self-imposed lockdowns have slowed trade to a trickle and raised concerns about food shortages or other hardships.