Twitter on hold.
1. North Korea earlier today said that six people have died and 350,000 have been treated since April for an “obscure febrile disease,” a day after the isolated country confirmed the presence of coronavirus within its borders for the first time. State news agency KCNA reported that 18,000 people had been identified on Thursday as having “a fever whose cause couldn’t be identified” and 187,800 were in quarantine. Authorities said one of the dead was infected with Covid-19, adding that the person had contracted the highly transmissible BA.2 Omicron coronavirus sub-variant. “A fever whose cause couldn’t be identified explosively spread nationwide from late April and more than 350,000 people got fever in a short span of time,” KCNA said. North Korea is one of only two countries in the world to have not initiated a vaccination program. (Source: ft.com, Ed. Note: Imagine what the actual numbers are.)
2. The Economist:
North Korea….lacks the testing and tracing infrastructure that other countries have built over the past two years. Its health-care sector suffered from serious underinvestment even before the pandemic. It does not have enough equipment and medical staff. Hospitals do not have regular power, clean water or proper sanitation. Two years of closed borders have depleted supplies of medicine, much of which is imported. It is unclear how much oxygen or how many ventilators the country has available. And pre-existing conditions make North Koreans especially susceptible to covid-19. Tuberculosis, which worsens the effects of the virus, is rampant. So is malnutrition. (Source: economist.com)
3. Moscow is withdrawing forces from around Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, where it has been losing ground, Ukrainian and Western officials say, in one of Russia’s biggest setbacks since its retreat from Kyiv last month. Officials say the Kremlin will probably redirect troops to the southeast, where it is said to be bolstering its forces in Izium, a city it captured last month. Izium, about two hours southeast of Kharkiv, has become a crucial operations center for Russia, which is said to be making gains in the eastern Donbas region, where fighting has been relentless.
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