SEOUL: North Korea said on Friday that all of its fever patients had recovered, ending the first wave of the coronaviruses, but the challenges still linger with economic hardships and an unvaccinated population exposed to future resurgences, analysts said.
While state media said that the anti-epidemic situation has entered a definite phase of stability rather than boasting of victory, North Korea said it would redouble efforts to maintain perfection in the execution of state anti-epidemic policies. It said around 4.77 million fever patients have recovered fully and 74 have died since April. There have been no new cases of a new fever since July 30.
South Korean officials and medical experts have cast doubts on those figures, especially the number of deaths.
Shin Young-jeon, a professor at Hanyang University's medical school in Seoul, said that while the peak of the first wave of COVID 19 may have passed, the stated deaths were nearly impossible and there could be up to 50,000 deaths.
Their success, if any, lies in the fact that the outbreak didn't lead to a political or social chaos. Their response to COVID 19 was another problem. South Korea's unification minister Kwon Young-se, who is responsible for inter-Korean affairs, said this week there were credibility issues with the North's data, but the COVID 19 situation seemed somewhat under control.