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(LEAD) N. Korea's suspected COVID-19 cases close to 40,000: state media

All News 10:28 June 12, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details throughout; ADDS photo)

SEOUL, June 12 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's new suspected COVID-19 cases dropped to near 40,000, while another death was reported, according to its state media Sunday.

More than 40,060 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. One additional death was confirmed, bringing the total toll to 72, it added.

The total number of fever cases since late April came to over 4.43 million as of 6 p.m. Saturday, of which more than 4.36 million have recovered, and at least 71,160 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.

The North urged all-out efforts to carry out the antivirus measures discussed during the enlarged plenary meeting of the party's Central Committee last week.

"The most pressing task facing us now is to ultimately overcome this malicious virus crisis and to bring back stability, and to ramp up the country's quarantine and crisis control capabilities," the Rodong Sinmun, the North's main newspaper, said.

On May 12, North Korea acknowledged the first outbreak of COVID-19 after claiming to be coronavirus-free for over two years.

South Korean observers question the credibility of the coronavirus statistics released by the North, with a fatality rate of just 0.002 percent, compared to South Korea's 0.13 percent a day earlier.

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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