North Korean leader Kim denounces authorities’ “immaturity” in response to COVID outbreak.

North Korea has reported 232,880 more people with symptoms of fever, and six more deaths after the country disclosed the COVID outbreak last week. She did not say how many people had tested positive for COVID-19.

Chairing a meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party politburo on Tuesday, Kim said the “immaturity of the state’s ability to deal with the crisis” has increased “the complexity and difficulty” of fighting the pandemic, according to KCNA.

Since first acknowledging the COVID-19 outbreak, the North has reported 1.72 million patients with symptoms of fever, including 62 deaths as of Tuesday evening.

Still, the North also said the virus situation in the country was taking a “favourable turn”, adding that the party meeting discussed “maintaining good luck on the global epidemic prevention front”.

The report does not specify on what basis the North arrived at such a positive assessment. The country has not started mass vaccinations and has limited testing capacity, causing many experts to fear it will be difficult to gauge the extent and speed of the disease’s spread.

According to KCNA, North Korea has been pushing to better manage “the collection, transport and testing of specimens from people with fever, while setting up additional quarantine facilities”.

KCNA also said health officials have developed a COVID-19 treatment guide aimed at preventing drug overdoses and other problems.

Officials and researchers have stepped up efforts to “massively develop and produce effective drugs in the treatment of malignant virus infection and establish more rational diagnosis and treatment methods,” but KCNA did not give a statement. details of the drugs concerned.

In the face of an “explosive” COVID-19 outbreak, North Korea mobilized its armed forces, including 3,000 military medical personnel, for a 24-hour drug delivery system, with 500 response groups to confirm and treating infected patients, according to state media.

State television showed a large number of soldiers gathered in a square to support anti-virus work.

A spokesperson for the UN human rights office said on Tuesday that measures taken by Pyongyang to fight COVID-19 could have “devastating” consequences for human rights in the country, because restrictions aimed at containing the virus could prevent people from getting enough food and meeting other basic needs.

South Korea has offered to send medical supplies, including vaccines, masks and test kits, as well as technical cooperation to the North, but Pyongyang has yet to respond.

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