Often referred to as “the hermit state”, North Korea – after claiming to have zero Covid cases for nearly two years – on Thursday recorded its first patient and within a few hours the country seems to have been enveloped by a health crisis. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has announced a lockdown and six people are reported to have died due to a fever that has spread “explosively”, news agency Reuters reported, citing local media. Several other countries including China, Italy, and the United States have registered a surge in cases since March, with China going through one of its worst Covid outbreaks after 2020.
Here are the latest Covid developments on the global front:
- A day after North Korea confirmed its first-ever Covid-19 case, reports said that six people – who showed fever symptoms – including the person with the confirmed Covid-19 case have died.
- About 187,800 people are being reportedly treated in isolation after a fever of unidentified origin has “explosively spread nationwide”. Reportedly, 350,000 people have shown signs of fever since early April, of which around 18,000 newly reported symptoms on Thursday.
- After announcing countrywide curbs, Kim Jong visited the anti-virus command center to check the situation and responses. The outbreak is believed to have started in the capital of Pyongyang in April.
- The United States has clarified that it has “no plans” to send vaccines to North Korea. However, it supported international efforts to provide aid to vulnerable people in the Covid-19 hit country.
- China’s Beijing reported a slight increase in new Covid cases after officials denied that the city will be locked down amid growing concerns. The Chinese capital reported 50 new cases on Thursday – compared with the 46 cases on Wednesday. The country reported a total of 312 confirmed cases – out of which 227 infections were reported in China’s financial hub Shanghai.
- Shanghai has plans to achieve “no community spread” of the coronavirus by mid-May, vice mayor Wu Qing said at a briefing on Friday, reports said.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that Covid-19 deaths have exceeded the two million mark for countries in the European region.
- The second global Covid-19 summit in the US has gathered over $3 billion in new funding to fight the pandemic, according to a White House fact sheet, reported Reuters.
- Italy is set to donate an additional 31 million Covid-19 vaccine doses through the COVAX facility to help poorer countries.
- South Korea’s new president Yoon Suk-yeol has pledged to provide an additional 300 million won to a global initiative to fund Covid-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines for poorer countries.
(With inputs from Reuters, AP, AFP)
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