North Korea enters lockdown after 1st official COVID-19 outbreak

COVID-19 measures in Pyongyang
(Image credit: Kim Won Jin/AFP/Getty Images)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ordered a strict national lockdown after a COVID-19 outbreak was confirmed in Pyongyang, the capital, the state-run Korean Central News Agency reported Thursday. These are the first cases of COVID-19 acknowledged by North Korea during the two-year pandemic, though most outside experts doubted that the isolated nation had evaded the virus completely.

Kim called an emergency meeting of the Politburo to discuss the outbreak, and ordered cities and counties to be locked down and workplaces to be isolated by unit to prevent spread of the coronavirus, KCNA said, The news agency did not say how big the outbreak is or how serious. Few of North Korea's 26 million residents are believed to be vaccinated since Kim rejected vaccine offers from China and the United Nations–backed COVAX distribution program.

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