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(LEAD) N. Korea's new suspected COVID-19 cases under 50,000

North Korea 09:47 June 10, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with more info from 5th para; ADDS photo, byline)
By Kang Yoon-seung

SEOUL, June 10 (Yonhap) -- North Korea reported less than 50,000 new fever cases for the first time since it announced a COVID-19 outbreak last month, according to its state media Friday.

Around 45,540 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. It provided no further information regarding additional deaths.

The total number of fever cases since late April came to over 4.34 million as of 6 p.m. Thursday, of which more than 4.26 million have recovered, and at least 83,980 are being treated, it added.

The country's daily fever tally has been on a downward trend after peaking at over 392,920 on May 15.

North Korean health officials are "voluntarily and dutifully preserving their unity" and "acting in concert" to fight the pandemic, according to the KCNA.

"More fully displayed are the great traits of Korean-style socialism where all the people help each other, share pain and stick together to brave ordeals whenever they are in difficulties," it reported. DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, North Korea's official name.

The state-controlled news agency's report seems aimed at strengthening the internal solidarity of the impoverished country, known for its dilapidated health care system and malnutrition among many of its 25 million people.

Observers here question the credibility of its coronavirus statistics, with the North stating that its death toll stood at just 71 as of June 3. That figure means that North Korea's COVID-19 fatality rate stands at just 0.002 percent, compared to South Korea's 0.13 percent posted a day earlier.

On May 12, North Korea disclosed its first COVID-19 case after claiming to be coronavirus-free for over two years.

Quarantine officials spray disinfectant at Pyongyang International Airport in the North Korean capital amid the highest-level alert on the coronavirus, in this undated photo released by the North's Korean Central News Agency on June 10, 2022. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)


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