North Korea fires missiles after Covid lockdown

Published May 13, 2022
A news broadcast shows footage of a North Korean missile test at a train station in Seoul on Wednesday. The North fired another missile on Saturday. —AFP
A news broadcast shows footage of a North Korean missile test at a train station in Seoul on Wednesday. The North fired another missile on Saturday. —AFP

SEOUL: North Korea confirmed its first-ever Covid-19 cases on Thursday and declared a “serious emergency”, with leader Kim Jong Un appearing in a mask on television for the first time to order nationwide lockdowns.

Hours after the shock announcement — the first time the nuclear-armed country has admitted to having Covid cases — Seoul’s military said it had detected three short-range ballistic missiles fired from near Pyongyang.

The launch, one of more than a dozen sanctions-busting weapons tests so far this year, comes shortly after Washington warned that Kim’s regime could test a nuke any day, with satellite images indicating fresh activity at nuclear sites.

Earlier on Thursday, North Korea said it had moved into a “maximum emergency epidemic prevention system” after patients with fevers in Pyongyang tested positive for the “Omicron BA.2 variant” of Covid.

Kim, wearing a mask on state television for the first time, oversaw an emergency politburo meeting to discuss the outbreak and “called on all the cities and counties of the whole country to thoroughly lock down their areas”.

Kim told the meeting that the goal was to “quickly cure the infections in order to eradicate the source of the virus spread,” official news agency KCNA said, without specifying how many cases had been detected.

With its 25 million people not vaccinated against Covid, North Korea’s crumbling health infrastructure would struggle to deal with a major outbreak, experts say.

Published in Dawn, May 13th, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

Punjab crisis
01 Dec, 2022

Punjab crisis

ADMINISTRATIVE chaos has ruled Punjab ever since the ouster of the PTI government in April, deepening the...
Quetta attack
01 Dec, 2022

Quetta attack

It would be foolishness of the highest order were the authorities to ignore the emerging threat.
World AIDS Day
01 Dec, 2022

World AIDS Day

AS countries mark World AIDS Day on Dec 1, a timely report from Unicef has renewed concerns about the severe...
A call for bloodshed
30 Nov, 2022

A call for bloodshed

The state has wasted precious time by not consolidating its success in pushing TTP out of its strongholds in the north.
Missing childhoods
30 Nov, 2022

Missing childhoods

THE fact is that despite some legal efforts to end the curse of child marriage taking place in Pakistan under the...
Unemployment concerns
30 Nov, 2022

Unemployment concerns

THE ILO finding that labour market recovery from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in Pakistan, as in many other...