The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea yesterday reported 15 additional deaths from “fever,” days after officially confirming its first-ever COVID-19 case and ordering nationwide lockdowns.

The number of feverish people in the country has surpassed 820,620, among whom 496,030 have recovered and 324,550 are still under medical treatment since the outbreak in late April, the Korean Central News Agency reported yesterday.

The total death toll has reached 42, KCNA reported, citing the state emergency epidemic prevention headquarters.

The DPRK last Thursday confirmed its first COVID-19 case in the country since the global outbreak of the pandemic and announced “maximum emergency” prevention measures, including various lockdown procedures across the country.

In another report yesterday, the KCNA said the government has now undertaken various urgent measures. The central emergency epidemic prevention sector has organized an investigation and study groups to thoroughly trace the path of infection and the cause of its outbreak.

It has also enhanced the role of the anti-epidemic task force, rapid consultation and diagnosis groups to cope with the spread of the pandemic in time, the report added.

The news agency reported that “all provinces, cities and counties have been totally locked down and working units, production units and residential units closed from each other.”

“The spread of malignant disease comes to be a great upheaval in our country,” DPRK leader Kim Jong Un said on Saturday.

Health authorities have set up more pandemic prevention posts, and urgently transported medical supplies to hospitals and clinics, while senior officials had donated reserve medicines, the KCNA reported.

A “large proportion” of the deaths have been because of people “carelessly taking drugs due to a lack of knowledge and understanding of the stealth Omicron variant virus infection disease and its correct treatment method,” the report noted.

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