Pyongyang: North Korea confirmed its first-ever Covid cases on Thursday and declared a “serious emergency”, with leader Kim Jong Un ordering lockdowns across the country.
The nuclear-armed country had never admitted to a case of Covid-19 and the government had imposed a rigid coronavirus blockade of its borders since the start of the pandemic in 2020.
“There has been the biggest emergency incident in the country, with a hole in our emergency quarantine front, that has been kept safely over the past two years and three months since February 2020,” the official KCNA news agency said.
The report said people in Pyongyang had contracted the Omicron variant, without providing details on case numbers or possible sources of infection. The samples of the infected people were collected on May 8, it said.
The report was published as the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un chaired a Workers’ Party meeting to discuss responses to the first outbreak of the coronavirus.
Kim ordered all cities and counties of the country to “strictly lock down” their regions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and said emergency reserve medical supplies would be mobilised, according to KCNA.