First Covid deaths in North Korea's 'explosive' outbreak

According to state media, a "explosive" Covid-19 outbreak has killed six people and infected over 350,000, sparking fears of a deadly crisis in the isolated and impoverished nation.

Last week, the country reported its first coronavirus case, calling it a "major national emergency."

North Korea reported 18,000 new "fever cases" and six deaths on Thursday, one of which tested positive for Omicron BA.2, state media KCNA reported Friday.

As a result of its limited testing capability, North Korea has not confirmed all "fever" cases and deaths.

"An unidentified fever has been sweeping the country since late April," the newspaper said. "At this time, up to 187,800 are isolated."

The country's ageing health care infrastructure is unlikely to treat a large number of patients with a highly infectious disease, and no coronavirus vaccines are known to have been imported.

However, few believe that a country of around 25 million people has been spared from the virus that has infected millions worldwide.

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