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(LEAD) N. Korea's total suspected COVID-19 cases surpass 3 million

North Korea 08:20 May 25, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with more info throughout; ADDS photo, byline)
By Yi Wonju

SEOUL, May 25 (Yonhap) -- North Korea reported over 115,000 new suspected COVID-19 cases Wednesday, with the total number of fever cases surpassing 3 million.

More than 115,970 people showed symptoms of fever over a 24-hour period until 6 p.m. the previous day, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said, citing data from the state emergency epidemic prevention headquarters.

The death toll remained the same at 68 as the North claimed to have no additional deaths reported for the second consecutive day.

The total number of fever cases since late April stood at more than 3.06 million as of 6 p.m. Tuesday, of which more than 2.74 million have recovered and at least 323,330 are being treated, it added.

The daily fever tally has gradually dropped in recent days, with new cases staying below 200,000 for the fourth consecutive day after peaking at over 392,920 on May 15.

North Korean Premier Kim Tok-hun (C) inspects a pharmacy amid the COVID-19 outbreak, in this undated photo released May 17, 2022, by the North's official Korean Central News Agency. The military medical field of the People's Army has been mobilized to supply medicine to pharmacies under the 24-hour service system, as the North has seen a surge in suspected coronavirus cases. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

Officials at the ruling Workers' Party, including members of the presidium of the Political Bureau and secretaries of the Central Committee, inspected local hospitals and pharmacies, while central-level hospitals have introduced a round-the-clock "telemedicine service system" to provide timely assistance to local hospitals, the KCNA said.

The North is also carrying out a "publicity campaign" to raise public awareness about the omicron virus to help people "deeply understand various scientific treatment methods to be applied to curing patients of different ages and constitutions."

The Rodong Sinmun, the North's main newspaper, carried articles urging people to strictly follow the coronavirus guidelines and lockdown measures.

"Although the lockdown of regions and units creates many challenges and difficulties in our work and lives, we will win this antivirus battle at all costs," it said.

On May 12, North Korea reported its first COVID-19 case after claiming to be coronavirus-free for over two years and implemented a nationwide lockdown as it declared a shift to the "maximum emergency" virus control system.

julesyi@yna.co.kr
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