North Korea Deploys Troops to Contain COVID Outbreak, Mass Testing Launched

The official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that 250,000 people were unwell on Tuesday, as the government organized a “powerful force” of soldiers to contain the COVID-19 outbreak and deployed thousands of health workers to trace new infections.

KCNA also reported six deaths on Tuesday, raising the total to 56, and the number of reported cases of “fever” nearing a total of 1.5 million since the report of the outbreak in late April. 

Earlier, senior members of the ruling Worker’s Party visited pharmacies and medicine management offices to check supply and demand after supreme leader Kim Jong Un criticized the ineffective distribution of drugs.

“They called for establishing a more strict order in keeping and handling the medical supplies, maintaining the principle of prioritizing the demand and convenience of the people in the supply,” KCNA said.

According to KCNA, Kim deployed some 11,000 health officials, teachers, and medical students in an “intensive medical examination of all inhabitants” within the country to locate and treat people with fever.

Meanwhile, North Korea has ignored South Korea’s proposal to send vaccines, medicine, and health personnel into the country.

Reports said that Kim’s praise of China’s pandemic response during a virus meeting last week could indicate that the North would be more willing to receive help from its main ally China.

On Monday, the World Health Organization has expressed concern over the outbreak and committed to providing full support.

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