North Korea reports first COVID-19 death

STORY: North Korea has reported its first death confirmed to have COVID-19 since the pandemic swept the globe two years ago.

State-run KCNA news agency carried the news on Friday, also reporting that hundreds of thousands of people have shown fever symptoms.

Among them, six have died, with one of those cases confirmed to have contracted the Omicron variant of the virus.

It's an unprecedented admission of what KCNA called an "explosive" outbreak and offers hints of the potentially dire scale of the country's first confirmed outbreak

State media said leader Kim Jong Un visited the country's anti-virus command centre on Thursday to check the situation and responses, after declaring a "gravest state of emergency" and ordering a national lockdown earlier in the day.

The isolated country has said the outbreak began in the capital of Pyongyang in April, but has given out few details.

The city hosted several massive public events on April 15 and 25, including a military parade and large gatherings where most people did not wear masks.

Experts said that given North Korea's limited testing capabilities, the numbers released so far probably represent a small fraction of the infections...

.. which could lead to thousands of deaths in one of only two countries in the world without a COVID-19 vaccination campaign.

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