Almost all the countries are desperate to get their people vaccinated as soon as possible, as it has become increasingly difficult for them to extend the period of lockdown. The COVID-19 Pandemic has already hit their economies hard. Everywhere in the world, from Britain and Australia to North Korea, the Governments are concerned about this situation.
North Korea had, previously, claimed that there were no reports of COVID-19 infections in the country. However, Japan and the US had expressed doubt over the authenticity of that claim. Kim Jong-un, the Supreme Leader of North Korea, recently admitted that his country was in a “grave” situation, stemming from quarantine negligence! The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) has quoted him as saying: “The Government has been emphasising on quarantine for a long time. However, people are not following all the instructions properly. As a result, North Korea is facing a security threat.” “He (Kim Jong-un) seriously pointed out that chronic irresponsibility and incompetence of cadres at present bring artificial difficulties to the implementation of the Party’s policies and become a major brake doing tremendous harm to the development of the revolutionary work,” added the KCNA report.
North Korea has taken various steps to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. The Asia-Pacific nation has sealed its borders with neighbouring countries, including China and South Korea. As China is the largest trading partner of North Korea, the move has hit the (North Korean) economy hard. Meanwhile, some diplomats are reluctant to rely on the KCNA report. “It would be a bit hasty to make any definitive conclusions based on the KCNA report, given it lacked detail. But North Korea has been particularly sensitive about the pandemic as it lacks testing kits and medical facilities,” said Cheong Seong-chang, the Director of the Unification Strategy Studies Programme at Sejong Institute in Seoul. He stressed: “North Korea sees the virus as a threat to its already struggling economy and Kim’s rule.”
According to diplomats, North Korea’s Health Infrastructure is very weak. It is almost impossible for Pyongyang to control the spread of Coronavirus. So, the North Korean authorities had started sealing the borders in early 2020. About a year ago, Kim’s regime locked down the border city of Kaesong after a person defected from South Korea. The North Korean personnel shot the man, who worked for South Korean Fisheries Ministry, and burned his body at sea. The North Korean personnel believed that he could have been a carrier of the Coronavirus!
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has admitted that Kim’s country is yet to receive any vaccine under its COVAX Project. North Korea was supposed to receive 1.7 million doses of vaccine by May 2021. According to a senior WHO official, it was not possible to send vaccines there because of North Korea’s reluctance to co-operate with the specialised UN agency responsible for international public health.
On the other hand, the Britons are also angry over their Government for extending the lockdown. Recently, people staged protests against the Government’s decision in London. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, too, has acknowledged the poor state of the National Economy. Majority of the people in Australia are also against the extension of lockdown. Outside a shop in Sydney suburb, visitors recently found a poster that reads: “Dear Customers, We will be closed for the foreseeable future because (Prime Minister) Scott Morrison is a useless dickhead who only ordered enough vaccine to vaccinate 4% of the population 18 months into a pandemic.”
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