DPRK’s Kim urges quick action to contain virus after 1st death

This picture taken on October 10, 2021 and released by the DPRK's official Korean Central News Agency on October 11 shows DPRK top leader Kim Jong-un giving a speech to mark the 76th anniversary of the Workers' Party of Korea in Pyongyang. (STR / KCNA VIA KNS / AFP)

SEOUL / VIENTIANE / SINGAPORE / SUVA / PYONGYANG / NEW DELHI – Kim Jong-un, top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, on Thursday called for quick action to contain the spread of COVID-19, when visiting the state emergency epidemic prevention headquarters, the official Korean Central News Agency reported.

Kim examined the epidemic prevention situation "after the state epidemic prevention work was switched over to the maximum emergency epidemic prevention system," and learned about the nationwide spread of COVID-19, said the report.

A fever whose cause couldn't be identified explosively spread nationwide from late April, and more than 350,000 people got fever "in a short span of time" and at least 162,200 of them recovered completely.

On Thursday alone, some 18,000 persons with fever occurred nationwide. So far, up to 187,800 people are being isolated and treated, with six dead (one of them tested positive for the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron), it said.

"The simultaneous spread of fever with the capital area as a centre shows that there is a vulnerable point in the epidemic prevention system we have already established," Kim was quoted as saying.

"It is the most important challenge and supreme tasks facing our Party to reverse the immediate public health crisis situation at an early date, restore the stability of epidemic prevention and protect the health and wellbeing of our people," he said.

The official news agency reported Thursday that samples taken from patients with fever in Pyongyang on Sunday were "consistent with" the virus' highly transmissible Omicron variant.

The DPRK has taken strict measures to ward off the virus by closing its borders soon after the outbreak of the pandemic, and had not confirmed a single case until Thursday.


India's COVID-19 tally rose to 43,116,254 on Friday, as 2,841 new cases were registered during the past 24 hours across the country, showed the federal health ministry's latest data.

Over 36 percent of the cases were reported from Delhi, where there are 4,928 active cases with the positivity rate standing at 3.64 percent.

Besides, nice deaths from the pandemic registered across the country since Thursday morning took the total death toll to 524,190.

A man receives a dose of China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination center in Vientiane, Laos, June 17, 2021. (PHOTO / XINHUA)


The number of daily COVID-19 cases in Laos continued to decline as the Lao Ministry of Health reported 94 new cases on Thursday.

The National Taskforce Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control reported 94 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the cumulative total to 209,243, according to the Center of Information and Education for Health.

Lao capital Vientiane logged the highest number of infections with 56, according to the report.

Laos recorded no new death from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, leaving the total death toll unchanged at 752.

The Republic of Korea's President Yoon Suk-yeol takes an oath during his inauguration in front of the National Assembly in Seoul, the Republic of Korea on May 10, 2022. (JEON HEON-KYUN / POOL PHOTO VIA AP)

Republic of Korea

The Republic of Korea's new President Yoon Suk-yeol pledged on Thursday to provide an additional $300 million won to a global initiative to fund COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines for poorer countries.

Yoon made the announcement in his speech to a second global COVID-19 summit, held virtually, aimed at facilitating efforts to end the pandemic and prepare for future health threats.

His funding pledge would bring the ROK's total donations to the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A), sponsored by the World Health Organization and other aid groups, to $510 million.

"We will lend support to the international community's efforts to end COVID-19," Yoon said in the speech.

"We will additionally contribute $300 million, and help secure sufficient supplies of vaccines for those who are in urgent need, and their safe, rapid administration."

Yoon also showed support for the establishment of a financial intermediary fund, a global project pushed by the United States and Indonesia to boost pandemic preparedness, and provisionally agreed on by G20 countries last month.

The speech marks Yoon's first attendance at a multilateral conference of world leaders, after he took office on Tuesday.

The summit was jointly hosted by the United States, Belize, Germany, Indonesia and Senegal.

A notice warning people not to gather in groups larger than five persons as part of restrictions to hald the spread of the coronavirus is displayed at Raffles Place financial business district in Singapore on Jan 4, 2022. (ROSLAN RAHMAN / AFP)


Singapore reported 3,645 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the total tally to 1,232,559.

Of the new cases, 409 cases were detected through PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests and 3,236 through ART (antigen rapid test) tests, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Health.

A total of 265 cases are currently warded in hospitals, with seven cases in intensive care units.

Three more patients have died from complications due to COVID-19 infection, bringing the death toll to 1,361, the ministry said.


Tonga's Ministry of Health has said that 91 percent of the South Pacific island country's target population aged 12 and above have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

According to Tonga's news website Matangi Tonga Online on Thursday, the ministry said 91 percent of its population aged 12 and above have received their second dose of COVID-19 vaccines, at least 98 percent have received their first dose, and 58 percent have taken the booster shots.

Currently, Tonga has 941 active COVID-19 cases, and the COVID-19 related death toll remains at 11. 

The island country has further eased the orange level restrictions in a lockdown, with gyms, bars, and kava clubs allowed to open for the period from May 7 to 27.

In another South Pacific island country of Samoa, the current state of emergency over COVID-19 has been extended for an additional 28 days, from May 9 to June 5.

Samoa's Ministry of Health has recorded one more COVID-19 related death in recent days, bringing the death toll to 23.