With the avid increase of COVID 19 delta variant cases all round the world. North Korea gave positive results. North Korea has conducted coronavirus tests on around 35,000 people so far but found no infections, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Tuesday, amid the global spread of the more contagious delta variant.
According to the WHO’s weekly report on COVID-19, 718 North Koreans underwent virus tests from June 25 to July 1, bringing the total number of tested citizens to 32,512, but none were found to have been infected.
Of the 718 newly tested citizens, 127 people with symptoms turned out to be those with flu-like illness or acute respiratory illness, the report said.
North Korea has claimed to be coronavirus-free but has taken relatively swift and tough measures against the pandemic, such as imposing strict border controls since early last year.
The North was expected to receive around 2 million doses of coronavirus vaccines through a global vaccine distribution program, but they have not been delivered to the country yet.
Several public health experts told the New York Times they were skeptical of the country’s claim to have zero cases of coronavirus back in March. Kee Park, a lecturer at Harvard Medical School who has worked in North Korea, suggested the country may be able to claim zero cases because it doesn’t have robust enough testing capacity to detect the disease. “So they can say, ‘We have not confirmed it,’” he told the Times.
North Korea closed its borders on Jan. 30, making it difficult to determine what’s happening inside the authoritarian state. Despite the governments’ claims to the contrary, there are reports of deaths seemingly caused by coronavirus, including more than 200 North Korean soldiers who died of coronavirus in March, according to South Korean publication Daily NK.