‘It's a Miracle’: North Korea Says It Doesn’t Have COVID Anymore

North Korea has declared a very unlikely “shining victory” over COVID, but Kim Jong Un’s own sister admitted that the supreme leader had come down with a fever.
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PHOTO: ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP via Getty Images

North Korea claims it is free of COVID, with an incredibly low death toll of just 74 people.

The hermit kingdom is ruled by dictator Kim Jong Un, who told a conference of officials on Wednesday that the death toll was an “unprecedented miracle in the history of the world health community,” and called for all COVID-related restrictions to be lifted.

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Kim said “the victory gained by our people is a historic event that once again showed the world the greatness of our state,” according to state news agency KCNA.

The country refers to “fever patients” rather than “COVID patients” apparently because it lacks proper testing facilities, or anything resembling a vaccination programme

North Korea claims to have logged some 4.7 million "fever patients" but only 74 deaths, putting the fatality rate at just 0.002 percent. The global average mortality rate for COVID is 3.4 percent. 

Kim’s influential sister, Kim Yo Jong, also revealed that her brother had been unwell with a “fever,” which could be an admission that North Korea’s ruler had COVID himself.

“Even though he was seriously ill with a high fever, he could not lie down for a moment thinking about the people he had to take care of until the end in the face of the anti-epidemic war,” she said.

She blamed COVID cases coming into the country on balloons carrying information leaflets being sent over the border from South Korea, and warned of retaliation if the balloons continued to arrive. 

The real status of the virus in the secretive, highly impoverished nation of 26 million people, has long been a mystery. 

Basic medications are often unavailable even in the capital, Pyongyang, and North Korea’s population has been weakened by starvation and threadbare medical infrastructure. 

Kim shunned the offer of vaccinations from Russia and the World Health Organisation in 2021, saying his country would fight the virus in “our style”.