While authorities in Pyongyang have been consistently claiming of been free from COVID infection, according to Daily NK quoting multiple military sources in North Korea, until now at least a few dozen of soldiers have died of the virus, while another source put the number at hundreds.
Until this week, there haven’t been many solid reports out of North Korea about its potential coronavirus outbreaks, a report has surfaced about a group of North Korean soldiers that are said to have died from the disease, while another report said, more than fifty-eight thousand North Korean civilians have died of the disease since August 2020. Majority of these people are within the China-North Korea bordering areas.
North Korea has repeatedly claimed to the World Health Organization that it has zero cases of the virus, although very few people believe that to be true.
Daily NK cited a military source, in North Korea’s Gangwon Province, claiming that forty-five soldiers died in July and August, at a temporary ward in that region.
“The ward was closed and the patients moved to another makeshift facility after the total was reported to the Army Health Bureau under the title of ‘Death Statistics for the Operational and Combat Political Training Period of 2020-2021’”, the source told Daily NK.
A different source, in Nampo, told the site that more deaths were reported at a different facility, also this summer.
“North Korean military authorities are in shock after mass deaths occurred at hospitals for soldiers suspected of having COVID-19,” according to Daily NK. The report cited multiple military sources in North Korea.
“The hospital is in a chaotic state after being reprimanded”, the source said.
The deaths were the highest, Daily NK’s sources said, in “front-line corps,” followed by those along the border with China, followed by the Second and Third Corps.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, meanwhile, is reportedly “furious” about the deaths, which are said to be the biggest reason the regime announced stronger quarantine measures at last week’s politburo meeting.
The report also found that the military, after a year of converting single floors of other facilities into coronavirus units, had begun using other, “clumsy” measures, including “building temporary makeshift facilities deep in the mountains, far from the units themselves”. However, those facilities do not appear to be doing much to treat the patients.
There has also, per the report, been an active cover-up of all of this.
“Only after being rebuked by the ministry did military units start filing proper reports. Word then started making its way to some military families as well”, the Daily NK reported. “According to the source, families worry that the military ‘cannot guarantee another mass death won’t happen when soldiers have to live together in a barracks’”.
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