North Korea has confirmed its first COVID-19 outbreak after more than two years of a pandemic and has imposed a nationwide quarantine to control the disease. This was reported by the Associated Press.
The extent of coronavirus transmission within North Korea was not immediately known; the outbreak forced leader Kim Jong-un to wear a mask in public. It is noted that due to the poor health care system and what is believed to be a predominantly unvaccinated population, the inability to slow the infection will have serious consequences. Experts say a COVID-19 outbreak could force North Korea to seek outside help.
The official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that tests of samples collected Sunday from an unspecified number of people with fever in the capital Pyongyang confirmed that they were infected with the Omicron strain.
In response, Kim Jong-un, during a meeting of the ruling party's Politburo, called for a complete lockdown of cities and counties and said that workplaces should be isolated by units. He urged health workers to disinfect their workplaces and homes and mobilize medical supplies.
Despite the virus, the DPRK leader ordered officials to continue planned construction, agricultural development, and other government projects while reinforcing the country's defensive posture.