SEOUL, May 19 — North Korea reported one additional death and over 260,000 new suspected COVID-19 cases Thursday, raising its total number of fever cases to nearly 2 million amid its battle with the virus outbreak.

According to the information of the state emergency epidemic prevention headquarters, more than 262,270 people showed symptoms of fever and one death was reported over a 24-hour period until 6 pm Wednesday, increasing the total number of fatalities to 63, Yonhap news agency reported, quoting the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

The total number of fever cases since late April in the country, with a population of around 25 million, stood at over 1.97 million as of 6 pm Wednesday, of which more than 1.23 million have fully recovered and at least 740,160 are being treated, it added.

Last Thursday, North Korea reported its first COVID-19 case after claiming to be coronavirus-free for over two years and declared the implementation of the “maximum emergency” virus control system.

The country has made all-out efforts to fight the virus, such as mobilising its military to supply medicine to pharmacies in Pyongyang earlier this week.

During a high-profile Workers’ Party meeting held Tuesday, the North’s leader Kim Jong Un rebuked officials for failing to respond properly to the COVID-19 outbreak in its early stages, and called for “redoubled efforts” to stabilise people’s lives.

South Korea has attempted to formally offer to hold dialogue with its neighbour to provide assistance but the North has not responded so far.


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