Kim Jong-un pins blame on ‘immaturity’ of North Korea government officials for rapid Covid spread

The North Korean leader also asks officials to strengthen virus controls at workplaces

(RELATED) North Korea implements nationwide COVID lockdown

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has accused officials of inadequacies, inertia and “immaturity” as Covid cases continued to rise in the country.

While addressing the politburo meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party on Tuesday, Mr Kim said the “immaturity in the state capacity for coping with the crisis” increased the “complexity and hardships” in fighting the pandemic, according to state-controlled Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

He also said that “the non-positive attitude, slackness and non-activity of state leading officials fully disclosed the vulnerable points” of the government’s response.

Mr Kim also asked officials to strengthen virus controls at workplaces and make redoubled efforts to improve the supply of daily necessities and stabilise living conditions.

The KCNA report added that officials continued to remain confident that the country would be able to overcome the crisis on its own after a politburo meeting on the crisis that took place on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the country recorded 232,880 new cases of “fever” – the North’s euphamism for Covid – and another six deaths, reported Associated Press.

The country’s health authorities added that more than 1.7 million have fallen ill amid a rapid spread of the disease since late April.

Officials were quoted by state media as saying that more than a million people recovered but at least 691,170 remained in quarantine.

The country formally confirmed an outbreak of Covid for the first time last week since the pandemic began, describing it as the “gravest national emergency”.

North Korea has consistently claimed to have had zero Covid cases since 2020, when the pandemic began – a claim that was widely doubted by health experts and analysts.

The country has also failed to administer Covid vaccines to its 26-million population.

The government had earlier rejected offers of free Covid vaccines, including Sinovac, the vaccine made in China as well as from AstraZeneca.

This is the second time this week that Mr Kim lambasted officials for their approach in handling the disease outbreak.

In an emergency Politburo meeting chaired on Sunday, Mr Kim had slammed the “irresponsible” approach of the cabinet and health officials and ordered the “powerful forces” of the army’s medical corps to be deployed to “immediately stabilise the supply of medicines” in the capital.

At a press briefing on Tuesday, World Health Organisation chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the agency was trying to convince North Korea and Eritrea to begin Covid vaccination drives.

Additional reporting by agencies

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