North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ordered the military to stabilise the distribution of COVID-19 medicines in Pyongyang, foreign media outlet reported.
“North Korea acknowledged for the first time last week that it is battling an “explosive” COVID-19 outbreak, with experts raising concerns that the virus could devastate a country with limited medical supplies and no vaccine programme,” the media report by Al Jazeera said.
In a sign of how serious the situation may be, Kim “strongly criticised” healthcare officials at a politburo meeting on Sunday for what he called a botched response to epidemic prevention – specifically a failure to keep pharmacies open around the clock to distribute medicine.
He also ordered the army to get to work “on immediately stabilising the supply of medicines in Pyongyang”, the capital, where Omicron was detected last week in North Korea’s first reported cases of COVID-19.
The order came as North Korea reported 392,920 more people with fever symptoms, with eight new deaths.
The additional figures take North Korea’s tally of the fever-stricken to 1,213,550, with 50 deaths by Sunday. KCNA did not say how many suspected infections had tested positive for COVID-19.