North Korea argued for more than two years, as COVID-19 decimated the world, that it had never had a coronavirus infection.
Mid-May, North Korea announced a surge in suspected cases and deployed the military to respond to a “serious national disaster.”
Foreign governments and humanitarian organizations believed the North Korean outbreak had gotten so bad that Pyongyang couldn’t hide it.
Since North Korea reported the epidemic, official media have projected a speedy improvement.
According to the daily Rodong Sinmun, new and current cases have dropped since mid-May. The state-run daily reported two outbreak-related deaths last week.
State media reported Sunday that Kim Jong Un presided over a meeting where he “praised the country’s epidemic control and improvement.”
The same day, a pandemic lockdown in Pyongyang was partially relaxed.
Observers are puzzled by North Korea’s contradictory messages, which include admitting a COVID-19 epidemic while releasing official data.
“Their figures make no sense,” claimed a Leiden University Korea expert. The globe has seen many similar situations. There’s no reason to believe North Korea’s coronavirus numbers.