The goal is to block the spread of “malicious virus”. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ordered a lockdown Thursday, May 12, after the first official case of Covid-19 was detected since the start of the pandemic, according to state media. Samples taken from fever patients in Pyongyang “coincide with the Omicron BA.2 variant”reports the official KCNA news agency.

The country’s flawed health system would struggle to cope with a major outbreak, especially as North Korea failed to vaccinate any of its 25 million people, after rejecting offers of vaccinations from the Organization. World Health Organization, China and Russia. North Korea has long boasted of its ability to keep the virus at bay, and had not reported a single confirmed case of Covid-19 to the WHO.

At a military parade in 2020, Kim Jong-un thanked citizens and service members for their loyalty and for staying healthy in the face of the global pandemic. Civilians have sometimes been seen wearing masks in official photographs. But that was not the case during the huge parade held in Pyongyang at the end of April. However, North Korea is surrounded by countries which have struggled, or are still struggling, to eradicate significant foci of the Omicron variant.

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