SEOUL, South Korea — At least 350,000 people have sought treatment and six have died following a fever outbreak in North Korea, the state-run Korean Central News Agency reported Friday.
According to The Associated Press, the reclusive country said 162,200 people have recovered from the fevers in the past few weeks. About 18,000 new cases of the fever-causing illness were reported Thursday, and 187,800 people were in isolation, state media said.
At least one of the six people who died tested positive for the omicron variant of COVID-19, the AP reported, citing KCNA.
It was not immediately clear how many of the fevers were caused by COVID-19, as the country likely does not have adequate testing, according to the AP.
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The news came a day after North Korea acknowledged its first coronavirus outbreak since the pandemic began more than two years ago. KCNA reported that some people with fevers tested positive for the omicron variant in Pyongyang, according to the AP. The report did not specify how many cases had been confirmed from the samples, which were collected Sunday.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered a “strict” nationwide lockdown Thursday, according to Reuters, citing KCNA.
As of March 31, North Korea had not reported any cases of COVID-19 to the World Health Organization; however, foreign experts have strong doubts about the country’s claims of zero infections, according to the AP. North Korea also has declined coronavirus vaccines from COVAX, despite reports that the majority of the country’s 26 million residents are likely unvaccinated, according to the news agency.
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Meanwhile, the rate of new COVID-19 cases appeared to be rising in the United States and declining globally, according to The New York Times. As of Thursday, the U.S. was averaging 87,522 new cases per day, up 59% from two weeks earlier, the newspaper reported. The worldwide average was 543,015 new cases per day, down 15% from 14 days earlier.
As for fatalities, the U.S. averaged 321 deaths per day – a decrease of 4% from two weeks earlier, the newspaper reported. The global average was 1,729 daily deaths, down 38% from 14 days earlier.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also reported Thursday that 66.4% of the U.S. population is considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19. About 46.3% of fully vaccinated residents have received a booster dose of a coronavirus vaccine, the agency said.
Globally, about 65.5% of people have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, compared with just 15.9% of the population in low-income countries, Oxford University’s Our World in Data project reported Friday.
– The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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