The Biden administration says it currently has no plans to share COVID-19 vaccines with North Korea, Reuters reported citing White House press secretary Jen Psaki. However, it supported providing aid to North Korea.
North Korea reported its first COVID-19 outbreak, calling it the "gravest national emergency" and ordering a national lockdown.
The state media said an omicron variant had been detected in Pyongyang, North Korea's Capital.
Amid limited testing capabilities in North Korea, the numbers released probably represent a small fraction of the infections, leading to thousands of deaths in one of only two countries in the world without a COVID-19 vaccination campaign.
About 187,800 people are being treated in isolation after a fever of unidentified origin has "explosively spread nationwide" since late April, the official KCNA news agency reported.
Last year, North Korea said it had developed its polymerase chain reaction (PCR) equipment for COVID tests.
It declined vaccine supplies from the COVAX global sharing program and China.
North Korea has not publicized any new calls for help to combat the outbreak, but some observers believe that the disclosure was a signal that the government would soon accept vaccines or other aid.
The office of South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol said it intends to help, including by providing vaccines, and that specific measures would be discussed with Pyongyang.
Photo by hakan german from Pixabay
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