May 12, 2022 01:12 GMT
North Korean state media report that Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un has ordered all cities to lock down after the detection of the nation's first positive cases of COVID-19.
- The decision was taken at a special Politburo meeting as the country adopts a "maximum emergency" virus control system.
- Local health authorities analysed samples collected from an unspecified number of fever-ridden patients in Pyongyang, concluding that the individuals have been infected with the Omicron variant.
- North Korea has so far maintained that it managed to stay COVID-free, although these claims were questioned by some foreign analysts.
- It is unclear if quarantine measures will be effective in stamping out the virus, considering the experience of neighbouring China.
- North Korea's population is paticularly exposed to the virus, owing to widespread malnutrition as well as and the country's poor healthcare system and failure to arrange any known COVID vaccination drive.