Kim Jong Un smokes cigarette as he slams North Korea’s ‘immature’ response to COVID outbreak after rise in deaths

Kim Jong Un has criticised North Korea’s “immature” response in dealing with its first confirmed COVID outbreak.
North Korea reported 232,880 more people with fever symptoms, and six more deaths after the country revealed the COVID outbreak last week.

Overall, the North has reported 1.72 million patients with fever symptoms, including 62 deaths as of Tuesday evening.
Now the country’s leader Mr Kim has accused government officials of inadequacies and inertia as fever cases sweep the country, state media KCNA has reported.
During a politburo meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party on Tuesday, Mr Kim said the “immaturity in the state capacity for coping with the crisis” increased the “complexity and hardships” in fighting the pandemic.

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He was also filmed smoking a cigarette while berating the officials during the meeting.

However, he also said the country’s virus situation was taking a “favourable turn” despite the rise in cases and deaths, as state media added the party meeting discussed “maintaining the good chance in the overall epidemic prevention front”.

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The country has not started mass vaccinations and has limited testing capabilities, leaving many experts concerned it may be difficult to assess how fast the disease is spreading.
According to KCNA, North Korea has been pushing to better handle “the collection, transport and test of specimens from those persons with fever, while installing additional quarantine facilities”.

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Kim waves cigarette during COVID meeting
Read more: Kim Jong Un warns of ‘great turmoil’ for North Korea as country announces ‘fever-related’ deaths
KCNA also said health officials have developed a COVID treatment guide aimed at preventing drug overdoses and other problems.
Officials and researchers have stepped up efforts to “massively develop and produce drugs effective in the treatment of the malignant virus infection and establish more rational diagnosis and treatment methods”, but KCNA did not give details on which drugs were involved.
In the face of an “explosive” COVID outbreak, North Korea has mobilised its armed forces, including 3,000 military medical staff, for a 24-hour medicine delivery system, with 500 response groups to confirm and treat infected patients, state media said.
State television showed large numbers of troops gathered in a square to support anti-virus work.
A spokesperson for the UN human rights office said on Tuesday that measures taken by Pyongyang to fight COVID could have “devastating” consequences for human rights in the country, as restrictions to curb the virus could limit people from getting enough food and meeting other basic needs.
South Korea has offered to send medical supplies, including vaccines, masks and test kits, as well as technical cooperation, but Pyongyang has yet to respond.

Source : Sky News