WHO estimates “COVID-19 situation in North Korea getting worse”
North Korea said the spread of COVID-19 is slowing down, but the World Health Organization (WHO) said that the situation in North Korea is believed to be “getting worse rather than getting better.”
Dr. Mike Ryan, head of the WHO’s emergency response team, said in a briefing on the 1st that North Korean health authorities should provide more information on COVID-19. North Korea is providing little raw data related to the outbreak of COVID-19.
When infectious diseases spread around the world, health authorities in each country boldly share “careful data” to the international community so that they can evaluate the level of global public health risks. On the other hand, North Korea does not currently share this information, Dr. Ryan said, “If we don’t have access to the necessary data, we can’t provide proper analysis to the global community.”
The WHO has been providing North Korea with vaccines and other COVID-19-related technologies and supplies, but it still believes that the situation in North Korea will not be good. Most North Koreans are unlikely to have been vaccinated, and it is speculated that due to North Korea’s weak health system, appropriate measures will not be taken against confirmed patients.
However, North Korea insists that it is well controlling the COVID-19 situation. It is argued that the COVID-19 situation is controlled without extensive vaccination, containment measures, and drug treatment, and that only dozens of deaths out of millions of infected people are occurring.
These North Korean claims are not gaining the trust of the international community. As the North Korean government hides the details, the WHO believes that the situation may be getting worse. It is also raising criticism against North Korea for not sharing information, even though the North’s epidemic situation may potentially have a negative impact on other countries.
Meanwhile, foreign media say that the WHO’s critical attitude toward North Korea is in contrast to the previous attitude toward China. In early 2020, the international community complained that China’s information sharing was delayed and the response to COVID-19 was delayed, but WHO Secretary General Tedros Adhanom Gebreyesus repeatedly praised China for responding quickly.