This picture taken on June 15, 2022 and released from Democratic People's Republic of Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on June 16, 2022 shows DPRK leader Kim Jong-un and his wife Ri Sol ju send medicines prepared by his family to the Haeju city, South Hwanghae province as regards the outbreak of an acute enteric epidemic, at an undisclosed location in the DPRK. (STR / KCNA VIA KNS / AFP)
SEOUL – The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has reported an outbreak of an unidentified intestinal epidemic on Thursday, potentially adding to strains on the country's healthcare system, which is already battling an unprecedented COVID-19 wave.
(Kim) stressed the need to contain the epidemic at the earliest date possible by taking a well-knit measure to quarantine the suspected cases to thoroughly curb its spread, confirming cases through epidemiological examination and scientific tests.
DPRK's state media
DPRK leader Kim Jong-un sent medicines to the western port city of Haeju on Wednesday to help patients suffering from the "acute enteric epidemic" as soon as possible, according to DPRK's state media KCNA.
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While the media outlet did not report the number of people affected, or elaborate what the disease was, enteric refers to the gastrointestinal tract.
"(Kim) stressed the need to contain the epidemic at the earliest date possible by taking a well-knit measure to quarantine the suspected cases to thoroughly curb its spread, confirming cases through epidemiological examination and scientific tests," KCNA said.
The reported outbreak comes as the DPRK tackles its first outbreak of COVID-19 infections. It declared a state of emergency last month, amid concerns over a lack of vaccines and medical supplies.
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DPRK reported 26,010 more people with fever symptoms on Thursday, with the total number of fever patients recorded across the country since late April nearing 4.56 million. The death toll linked to the outbreak is at 73.
Pyongyang has been daily announcing the number of fever patients, not COVID patients, possibly due to lacking testing kits.