Always Wins: North Korea May Win Covid-19

SEOUL: It’s only been a month since then North Korea admitted that there was an outbreak of Covid-19, after categorically denying any cases for more than two years. But he can now prepare to declare victory. According to state media, north Korea has avoided the mass deaths that many expect in a nation with one of the world’s worst health care systems, little or no access to vaccines and what outsiders see as a long attempt to ignore the suffering of its people.
Experts say North Korea’s official virus figures have so much to do with propaganda to promote the leader Kim Jong Un as with a true picture of what is happening in the country and there is widespread doubt about their accuracy.
What is clear, however, is that daily updates from the state media make it seem inevitable that the nation will completely defeat the virus that has killed more than 6 million people worldwide. According to official figures, the number is declining, and while 18% of the nation of 26 million people have reportedly had symptoms that outsiders strongly suspect to be Covid-19, less than 100 have died.
The South Korean government, as well as some experts, believe that North Korea may soon declare that it has defeated the virus. This will, of course, be linked to the strong and smart leadership of leader Kim Jong Un.
However, the winning lap is not a predetermined result. This, according to some experts, would deprive Kim of a useful tool for public scrutiny and is likely to open the government to humiliation if the case continues.
“There are two sides to such a declaration,” he said Moon Song Muk, an analyst at the Seoul-based Korean National Strategy Research Institute. “If North Korea says Covid-19 is missing, it could emphasize that Kim Jong Un is a great leader who overcame the pandemic. But in doing so, it cannot maintain the powerful restrictions it uses to control its people on behalf of containing Covid-19. ”
Outsiders suspect that Kim is using the epidemic to bolster internal unity at a time when many of his people are tired of the two-year draconian restrictions that are hurting their livelihoods.
However, North Korea is concerned with the description of the pandemic, many signs, at least in public statements, point to a declaration of success in tackling a virus that has confused the world’s richest countries.
In the early stages of the outbreak, Kim described a “major shock” as daily cases of fever – North Korea rarely calls them Covid-19, probably because test kits are missing – reached about 400,000. as its health officials maintain the widely contested mortality rate of 0.002%, the lowest in the world.
The question many foreign experts are grappling with is: What is the real miserable situation in North Korea, which has banned almost all foreign journalists, aid workers and diplomats since the beginning of 2020?
North Korea is believed to be manipulating its true death toll to prevent any harm to Kim. It may also have exaggerated the number of earlier cases of fever to increase vigilance against the virus and attract stronger public support for anti-virus control by the authorities. North Korea recently reported about 17,000 to 30,000 new cases of fever each day, a total of 4.7 million. It says – about widespread external mistrust – that only 73 have died.
Whatever the real situation, outside monitoring groups say they have found no sign of anything catastrophic in North Korea.
“If a large number of people had died, there would have been some evidence, but there was no evidence,” said Nam Sung-uk, a professor at Korean University in South Korea. During the famine of the 1990s, for example, rumors of widespread deaths and abandoned people spread outside the country, in China and South Korea.
Kang Mi Jin, a North Korean deserter Seoul who runs a company that analyzes the North’s economy, said three of her contacts in the North Korean city of Hiesan told her during phone calls that most of their family members had suffered from alleged symptoms of Covid-19. But she said she had been told that none of their relatives, neighbors or acquaintances had died from Covid-19, although they had heard rumors of such deaths in other cities.
“During an earlier phone call, one of my sources burst into tears when she said she was worried that some bad things might happen to her family (because of Covid-19). But now she and others have become stable and sometimes laugh when we talk on the phone, “Kang said.
During a recent meeting of the ruling party, Kim said that the fight against the pandemic in the country has passed the stage of “unexpected serious crisis”. State media called on the public to unite behind Kim in a stronger way to fully overcome the pandemic.
Cho Junghong, spokesman for South Korea Ministry of Unificationwho is monitoring relations with North Korea told reporters last week that the North could announce that the Covid-19 crisis is resolved this month.
Nam, a South Korean professor, said the epidemic appears to have weakened in Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital, but is likely to continue in rural areas, where some people with symptoms go out because they rely on livelihoods and have no access to public rations. .
“I think North Korea will declare victory over the pandemic a little later. “She would lose face if she declared victory too early and then new patients appeared,” Nam said.
Kang, the deserter, said North Koreans in Hyesan were following brief orders against the pandemic and that few patients with fever went outside during quarantine.
Because North Korea believes the pandemic, UN sanctions and other economic difficulties will continue, there is little chance it will soon lift the major restrictions, said Lim Yul-Chul, a professor at the Institute for Far Eastern Studies at Kungnam University in Seoul.
“The United States and other countries with advanced health care and medical systems have not announced the end of Covid-19. So North Korea will also be much harder to do, “Lim said.
The Global Vaccine Alliance GAVI said earlier this month that it understood that North Korea had accepted the Chinese vaccine proposal. But North Korea has ignored proposals from South Korea and the United States for medical care.
Despite the explosion of Covid-19, North Korea continued to launch missiles this year. But he has yet to conduct a much-anticipated nuclear test, possibly due to concerns about a potential response from people who are still battling the virus.
North Korea could officially declare victory over the virus when the daily fever and pandemic situation in neighboring China is significantly alleviated, said An Kyung-su, head of Dprkhealth.org, a website focused on health problems in North Korea.
But he said such a statement did not mean much, because North Korea probably recognized the epidemic only last month because it considered it controllable.
“According to North Korea, it is winning everything. She does not acknowledge things she cannot overcome. “She always wins absolutely, whether she faces military, economic or pandemic difficulties,” said Anne.

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