North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, on Thursday, suggested that the isolated country could begin COVID-19 vaccinations in November. While giving a speech to the North Korean national assembly, Kim cited World Health Organization warnings that the winter could see a resurgence in coronavirus infections.
Last month, Kim declared victory over COVID-19 and ordered the lifting of maximum anti-epidemic measures imposed in May, though adding that North Korea must maintain a “steel-strong anti-epidemic barrier.”
He said, “Therefore, along with responsible vaccination, we should recommend that all residents wear masks to protect their health from November.”
North Korea has never confirmed the number of people infected with the COVID virus because, apparently, it lacks the means to conduct widespread testing, but it has reported a daily number of patients suffering from fever.
According to North Korea’s tally, the number of patients with fever rose to 4.77 million in the country, whose population is estimated to be 25 million. But it has not lodged any new case since 29 July.
Experts, including the WHO, have cast doubt on those numbers, citing an apparent lack of testing capacity in North Korea.
North Korea has not confirmed administering any COVID-19 vaccinations, although customs records show that it has imported some unspecified vaccines from China this year.