According to state media, North Korea identified the first case of the Omicron coronavirus in the capital Pyongyang on Wednesday.
The state-run KCNA news agency called the situation a “major national emergency”.
It is not clear how many cases have been identified.
An outbreak of Covid-19 could be disastrous for North Korea† The country’s dilapidated healthcare infrastructure is unlikely to be up to the task of treating a large number of patients with a highly contagious disease.
North Korea had not previously acknowledged any cases of coronavirus, though experts argue it may be a product of Pyongyang’s limited testing capacity.
Few believe that a country of about 25 million people has been spared a virus that has infected millions of people worldwide, especially after state media warned in 2020 that an incident involving a symptomatic defector from South Korea could lead to a “deadly and destructive disaster”. †
This is a story in development. More to come.