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North Korean leader slams nation’s COVID response

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has slammed his country’s response to its first officially confirmed COVID-19 outbreak as “immature”, accusing government officials of inadequacies and inertia as fever cases swept the country, state media reports.

North Korea on Wednesday reported 232,880 more people with fever symptoms, and six more deaths after the country’s first admission of the COVID outbreak last week.

It did not say how many people had tested positive for COVID-19.

Presiding over a politburo meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party on Tuesday, Mr Kim said the “immaturity in the state capacity for coping with the crisis” increased the “complexity and hardships” in fighting the pandemic when “time is the life”, according to the KCNA.

Since its first acknowledgement of the COVID-19 outbreak, the North has reported 1.72 million patients with fever symptoms, including 62 deaths as of Tuesday night.

Amid concerns over the isolated country’s lack of vaccines and adequate medical infrastructure, the KCNA said health officials had developed a COVID-19 treatment guide aimed at preventing drug overdoses and other mistreatments that had led to many of the reported deaths.

The guide includes treatments individualised for different types of patients, but state media did not elaborate on which drugs were involved in the treatment plans.