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  • North Korea has reported its first death from COVID-19.


  • The news comes a day after the country acknowledged an outbreak of the virus for the first time in this worldwide crisis ordering a lockdown.


  • The state media says six people have died from a fever that's been spreading fast nationwide.


  • It's confirmed one of them had tested positive for the coronavirus omicron variant.

    そのうち1人がコロナウイルス オミクロン変種に陽性であったことが確認されました。

  • It's also released this photo of leader kim jong un at the emergency epidemic prevention headquarters.


  • The country had previously claimed to have had zero infections during the pandemic.


  • It's refused international help with vaccinations and has kept its borders closed.


  • Well, I'm joined by correspondent josh smith in Seoul South Korea.


  • Not so far from this very secretive nation but tell us a bit more about what's going on or what you can tell us considering that officially Covid is now starting to take its toll in North Korea about 2.5 years into this pandemic.


  • That's right.


  • It is quite a startling admission by the government there, there had long been suspicions that there uh that it was unlikely that North Korea would entirely escape this global pandemic.


  • And now we have the first official confirmation from the government that there are indeed cases there.


  • As you mentioned though, even the death numbers that they've released so far do show the amount of confusion over exactly what's going on there.


  • This kind of unknown fever that they say um, has uh infected at least 350,000 people so far just in recent weeks.


  • Um, but they haven't released total covid case numbers.


  • Um, and experts we talked to said that that shows perhaps a weakness in in their capabilities and able to test the sheer number of people with symptoms there right now.


  • And so I think going forward, there's going to continue to be questions over not only the numbers, but also their capability and being able to help people and prevent widespread deaths.


  • Just how bad do you think this outbreak could get considering such a poor health care system?


  • No vaccines and sanctions on top of that.


  • So, North Korea has a relatively high number of educated doctors and staff and and uh and healthcare system that given its uh, you know, authoritarian nature of the government, can be very quickly mobilized and deployed around the country.


  • However, they have chronic shortages of supplies, medicines, equipment, all of that.


  • Um, which is why experts say that it's so critical that they do open their doors to some aid.


  • Now in recent months there has been a trickle of aid.


  • We understand that's coming in from some international organizations there, um, going through that very tight border lockdown that you mentioned before.


  • However, there's been no sign of vaccines which have been key to keeping at least the death rates lower around the world and are seen as key to allowing North Korea to eventually open up and protect its already battered economy.


  • Do you think North Korea will eventually have to open up and in effect open itself to outside scrutiny.


  • Uh, there are some observers who have looked at at this kind of uh rather unprecedented state media coverage of um this first outbreak as a possible sign that North Korea is moving towards that, that they're getting ready to potentially accept some of this aid.


  • Um, they've already opened their borders slightly relative to what they had before, Again in a in a in an impairment, apparent acknowledgement that they do need to ease some of the controls that they have had their.


  • Um and so there is an optimistic view that hopefully they are now, with the scale of this spread going to open up to some of that aid that will allow them to live with Covid as the rest of the world is journalist josh smith in Seoul South Korea.


  • Thank you very much.


North Korea has reported its first death from COVID-19.


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北朝鮮、「COVID-19」による初の公式死去を報告|DWニュース (North Korea reports first official COVID-19 death | DW News)

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    林宜悉 に公開 2022 年 05 月 20 日