North Korean tyrant Kim Jong Un claimed victory over COVID-19 as his sister said he suffered a fever during his “epoch-making” drive to rid the country of the deadly virus — the first acknowledgement that the despot could have been stricken.
Kim Yo Yong also vowed “deadly” retaliation against South Korea, accusing the capitalist nation of causing the outbreak.
Kim Jong Un, addressing a national meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea on Wednesday, praised the “great victory brought by the advantageous Korean-style socialist system” and ordered the lifting of anti-coronavirus measures.
But Kim added that the hermit kingdom must keep a “steel-strong anti-epidemic barrier and intensifying the anti-epidemic work until the end of the global health crisis,” the propagandist Korean Central News Agency reported on Thursday.
“For a country that has yet to administer a single vaccine shot, our success in overcoming the spread of the illness in such a short period of time and recovering safety in public health and making our nation a clean virus-free zone again is an amazing miracle that would be recorded in the world’s history of public health,” KCNA quoted Kim as telling the gathering.
His sister, who is in charge of inter-Korean relations, also addressed the officials and called the country’s success over COVID an “amazing miracle.”
Kim Yo Yong then lauded her brother, saying in remarks broadcast on state TV: “Even though he was seriously ill with a high fever, he could not lie down for a moment thinking about the people he had to take care of until the end in the face of the anti-epidemic war.”
Kim Yo Yong also addressed South Korean activists who have been sending leaflets critical of the Stalinist regime into North Korea via balloons.
“(South Korean) puppets are still thrusting leaflets and dirty objects into our territory. We must counter it toughly,” she said. “We have already considered various counteraction plans, but our countermeasure must be a deadly retaliatory one.”
North Korea, lacking the means to conduct widespread testing or carry out a vaccination program, has never confirmed how many of its people caught the coronavirus.
It did say that as many as 4.7 million people had come down with a “fever,” but no new cases had been registered since July 29.
North Korea reported its first case of COVID-19 in May and immediately locked down cities and towns, a reaction reminiscent of its decision to seal its borders when the virus first appeared in 2020.
The Lancet medical journal said in June that limited testing in North Korea makes it hard to determine the size of the outbreak in the country of more than 25 million.
“However, in a highly unusual move, the authorities have been releasing detailed statistics on cases of ‘fever.’ These cases peaked on May 15, with almost 400,000 new cases reported, followed by a steady decline to about 100 000 new cases per day by the end of the month,” the publication said. “Not all cases of fever are caused by COVID-19, nor are all cases of COVID-19 characterised [sic] by fever.”
“There is no way the North Korean health-care system could handle a sudden influx of cases of COVID-19”, a medical expert on the country told the Lancet. “They do not have enough ventilators, oxygen, or basic medicines, let alone antivirals. Even in the best hospitals, doctors are reusing surgical gloves.”
With Post wires
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