North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said “a great disaster” had befallen his country after it was reported that there had been 21 new deaths from “unidentified origins” of people with a fever.
The state news agency KCNA said some 280,810 people were being treated and 27 had died since a fever began to be reported in the country from late April.
He did not mention COVID-19.
On Thursday, North Korea announced a death from coronavirus – and the country’s leader ordered a strict nationwide lockdown.
KCNA quoted Kim as saying that the health crisis had been caused by the “incompetence and irresponsibility of party organizations in their response against the epidemic.”
Efforts should be made to overcome the outbreak in the shortest period possible, KCNA quoted Mr. Kim as saying, adding “it’s a big upheaval.”
The tentative public admission of COVID-19 Infections highlights the potential for a major crisis in a country that has refused to accept international help with vaccination and has closed its borders.
The outbreak could have serious consequences due to the country’s poor health care system and its 26 million people are believed to be largely unvaccinated.