COVID getting worse, not better in North Korea: WHO

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Washington: The World Health Organization (WHO) believes the Covid-19 situation in North Korea is “getting worse, not better” despite the secretive country’s recent claims that the viral outbreak is slowing there.

The WHO’s emergencies chief Dr Mike Ryan appealed to North Korean authorities for more information about the Covid-19 outbreak there, saying the WHO has not received any privileged information about the outbreak. Typically, countries countries may share more sensitive data with the WHO so it can evaluate the public health risks for the global community.

After claiming for two years that North Korea is untouched by coronavirus, the country’s government last month announced it’s experiencing an “explosive” Covid-19 outbreak, leading its leader Kim Jong-Un to declare nationwide lockdowns. The country reported 3,50,000 coronavirus infections and six deaths on the day it acknowledged the outbreak, which jumped 50 deaths and 1.2 million infections in four days.

“We have real issues in getting access to the raw data and to the actual situation on the ground. It is very, very difficult to provide a proper analysis to the world when we don’t have access to the necessary data,” said WHO’s Ryan at a press briefing on Wednesday.

The WHO has repeatedly cautioned against allowing the virus that causes Covid-19 to spread unchecked, among other things since it then is more likely to mutate and produce new, potentially more dangerous variants.

“We do not wish to see intense transmission of this disease in a mainly susceptible population, in a health system that has already weakened,” Ryan said.

“This is not this is not good for the people of (North Korea). This is not good for the region. This is not good for the world.”

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