North Korea, ravaged by a massive corona outbreak, is resorting to desperate measures against the pandemic: Not only are drug production ramping up, but traditional Korean remedies for fever and pain must also be used more – including salt water and willow leaf tea. This is “effective for preventing and curing the malignant disease,” the state news agency KCNA said Thursday.
According to KCNA, at least 262,270 new cases of “fever” and one more fatality were reported within 24 hours. According to official figures, this increases the number of infections to 1,978,230.
Data-blind flight because there is hardly any testing
A total of 63 deaths have been reported in North Korea since the pandemic became known. However, there is no official confirmation as to whether the sick are infected with the coronavirus, as the country has very little testing capacity. North Korea had confirmed the outbreak of the infectious disease a week ago and imposed a nationwide lockdown. The UN human rights organization had warned of “devastating” consequences for the country’s 25 million inhabitants.
“Thousands of tons of salt were rushed to Pyongyang”
In the absence of Covid vaccines and drugs, state media called for the use of painkillers and antibiotics, as well as the use of home remedies: gargle with salt water or drink willow leaf tea. “Thousands of tons of salt were rushed to Pyongyang to make an antiseptic solution,” KCNA reported.
Help offers from South Korea and the US
South Korea and the US have offered assistance to North Korea but have received no response, South Korea’s deputy national security adviser said. US President Joe Biden plans to visit South Korea and Japan in the coming days on his first trip to Asia in office. His visit is overshadowed by a feared renewed missile test by North Korea.