SEOUL, May 31 — North Korea’s new suspected COVID-19 cases dropped below 100,000 with no new deaths reported, Yonhap news agency reported, quoting the North’s state media.

More than 96,020 people showed symptoms of fever with no deaths being reported over a 24-hour period until 6 pm Monday, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said, citing data from the state emergency epidemic prevention headquarters.

The total number of fever cases since late April had come to more than 3.64 million as of 6 pm Monday, of which more than 3.46 million had recovered and at least 182,940 had been in treatment. The death toll stood at 70.

The country’s daily fever tally has been on a downward trend after peaking at over 392,920 on May 15. The figure dropped below 100,000 on Friday and Saturday before climbing slightly back to over 100,710 on Monday.

The Rodong Sinmun, the North’s main newspaper, urged officials to stay vigilant against the virus, saying the flaws and shortcomings exposed in the early stages of the country’s pandemic response were caused by the “slackness of officials.”

“What is more dangerous to officials responsible for their respective regions and units is not the malicious virus itself but indolence, slackness, immodesty and self-praise,” it said.

The North seems to be seeking to tighten discipline of officials or public workers while trying to allay worries among ordinary people amid weeks-long nationwide lockdowns.

On May 12, North Korea reported its first COVID-19 case, after claiming to be coronavirus-free for over two years, and declared a shift to the “maximum emergency” virus control system.


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