(ATTN: UPDATES with more details throughout; ADDS photo, byline)
By Yi Wonju
SEOUL, May 23 (Yonhap) -- North Korea said Monday around 167,650 new cases of fever and another death have been confirmed, as the country stages what it calls an anti-epidemic war.
More than 167,650 people showed symptoms of fever, with one additional death reported, over a 24-hour period until 6 p.m. the previous day, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported, citing data from the state emergency epidemic prevention headquarters.
The daily number of fever cases has remained below 200,000 for the second consecutive day after reaching 219,030 cases Saturday.
It raised the death toll to 68, with the fatality rate standing at 0.002 percent, the KCNA said.
The fever caseload reported since late April in the nation, with a population of 24 million, came to more than 2.81 million as of 6 p.m. Sunday, of which more than 2.33 million, or 82.9 percent, have recovered and at least 479,400 are being treated, according to the KCNA.
The Rodong Sinmun, the North's main newspaper, on Monday carried several articles stressing the role of the ruling Workers' Party and urged people to strictly follow the party in its antivirus efforts.
The paper highlighted that the North was able to spend their days "safe" for over two years thanks to the party's "strict and swift measures" against the global pandemic.
The reclusive North continues to remain unresponsive to offers from South Korea and the United States on COVID-19 assistance, though observers here have raised concerns over the impoverished country's heath care system.
On May 12, North Korea reported its first COVID-19 case after claiming to be coronavirus-free for over two years and declared the implementation of the "maximum emergency" virus control system.
Talk of 'normalizing' GSOMIA raises hope, skepticism around Seoul-Tokyo ties
S. Korea, U.S., Japan close ranks amid growing N.K. threats
N. Korea says month-old virus crisis under control, but skepticism lingers
Yoon, Biden agree to broaden, deepen alliance amid N.K. threats, China's assertiveness
Biden's trip highlights commitment to stronger alliance, hope for S. Korea's pivotal role in security: experts