North Korea has recorded its first ever case of Covid-19, more than two years after the pandemic started.
The country’s official KCNA news agency has confirmed the case and said it was ‘consistent with’ the virus.
“There has been the biggest emergency incident in the country, with a hole in our emergency quarantine front, that has been kept safely over the past two years and three months since February 2020,” the state media said.
It’s believed the patient has been infected with the Omicron variant of coronavirus.
The KCNA agency reports that North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, is vowing to ‘overcome’ this ‘severe national emergency incident’.
In April last year, North Korea submitted a report to the World Health Organisation claiming it had tested 23,121 people for the coronavirus and all results were negative.
Media outlets with sources inside North Korea had reported accounts of Covid-like symptoms and deaths among soldiers, along with possible outbreaks in the northern cities of Manpo and Chongjin.
North Korea ‘almost entirely prohibited’ domestic travel and local media reported how ‘borders are more tightly controlled than ever, with the police ordered to unconditionally shoot on sight anybody in border areas’.
Leader Kim Jong-un gave a speech in 2020, where he sobbed in front of his citizens as he spoke about his failings amid the pandemic.
The Supreme Leader was speaking to the nation during his commemorative speech to mark the 75th anniversary of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea when he became emotional.
According to reports, Kim spent around a third of his speech apologising to the country and stating that he sympathised with the hardships they have had to endure over recent months.
At one point he even removed his glasses to wipe tears from his eyes.
He said: “Our people have placed trust, as high as the sky and as deep as the sea, in me, but I have failed to always live up to it satisfactorily. I am really sorry for that.
“Although I am entrusted with the important responsibility to lead this country, upholding the cause of the great Comrades Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il; thanks to the trust of all the people, my efforts and sincerity have not been sufficient enough to rid our people of the difficulties in their lives.”
Kim said back in 2020 that he wanted the North Korean government and military to work harder to improve the country’s situation.
He said: “I will ensure that all Party organisations, the government and power and military organs make more and more strict demands on themselves, direct strenuous efforts and work with sincerity for our people and for bringing a better tomorrow to them.”
He also extended his compassion to other countries around the world that have suffered as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He added: “Availing myself of this opportunity, I offer my heartfelt consolation to all those around the world who are still combating the disease caused by the malignant virus, and do hope from the bottom of my heart that health, happiness and laughter of all people would be guaranteed.”