N Korean leader sends in military to help tackle COVID outbreak | Coronavirus pandemic News

Kim Jong Un orders the army to stabilise the availability of medicines in Pyongyang amid the outbreak of COVID-19, KCNA reviews.

North Korean chief Kim Jong Un has ordered the army to stabilise the availability of medicines in Pyongyang days after announcing a lockdown following the outbreak of COVID-19, in accordance with the state-run Korean Central Information Company (KCNA).

North Korea acknowledged for the primary time final week that it’s battling an “explosive” COVID-19 outbreak, with specialists elevating considerations that the virus might devastate a rustic with restricted medical provides and no vaccine programme.

The nation reported 392,920 extra individuals with fever signs, with eight new deaths, the state information company mentioned.

It didn’t report what number of of these suspected circumstances had examined optimistic for COVID-19. North Korea has no COVID vaccines, antiviral remedy medicine or mass-testing capability.

Kim Jong Un’s administration has insisted the nation was coronavirus-free till just a few days in the past.

State media says 50 individuals have now died – and greater than one million employees have been mobilised to cease the unfold.

On the emergency politburo assembly, held on Sunday, Kim criticised the “irresponsible” work angle and organising and executing potential of the Cupboard and the general public well being sector, KCNA reported.

“Officers of the Cupboard and public well being sector in command of the availability haven’t rolled up their sleeves, not correctly recognizing the current disaster however solely speaking concerning the spirit of devotedly serving the individuals,” KCNA mentioned Kim had advised officers.

The federal government had ordered the distribution of its nationwide medication reserves however Kim mentioned the medicine procured by the state will not be reaching individuals in a well timed and correct method by pharmacies, the report mentioned.


Kim ordered that the “highly effective forces” of the military’s medical corps be deployed to “instantly stabilise the availability of medicines in Pyongyang Metropolis.”

KCNA additionally reported that Kim visited pharmacies situated close to the Taedong River in Pyongyang to search out out concerning the provide and gross sales of medicine.

Kim mentioned pharmacies will not be well-equipped to carry out their features easily, there are not any ample drug storage areas aside from the showcases, and the salespeople weren’t geared up with correct sanitary clothes.

North Korea has mentioned {that a} “massive proportion” of the deaths up to now have been as a consequence of individuals “careless in taking medicine because of the lack of information and understanding of stealth Omicron variant virus an infection illness and its right remedy technique.”

Whereas North Korea has maintained a inflexible coronavirus blockade for the reason that pandemic’s begin, specialists have mentioned that Omicron outbreaks within the area meant it was solely a matter of time earlier than COVID unfold to the nation.

Kim Jong Un warns of ‘great turmoil’; 21 new ‘fever’ deaths | Coronavirus pandemic News

Restricted testing capabilities counsel the numbers launched are more likely to signify solely a tiny fraction of complete circumstances.

North Korea on Saturday reported 21 deaths and tens of hundreds extra individuals with fever signs as chief Kim Jong Un mentioned the outbreak of COVID-19 had put the nation in “nice turmoil”.

The remoted nation made an unprecedented admission of its first COVID outbreak earlier this week, after claiming no infections for the reason that begin of the pandemic greater than two years in the past.

State media introduced the first suspected deaths from the virus on Friday.

The brand new deaths and circumstances elevated the whole numbers to 27 deaths and 524,440 diseases amid a fast unfold of fever since late April. North Korea mentioned 243,630 individuals had recovered and 280,810 remained in quarantine.

State media didn’t elaborate on how lots of the fever circumstances and deaths had been confirmed as COVID-19.

North Korea, considered one of solely two nations on the earth to not have had a COVID vaccination marketing campaign, has restricted testing capabilities suggesting the numbers launched most likely signify solely a small fraction of complete infections.

Amid the outbreak, the nation’s ruling Staff’ Social gathering met for an emergency assembly on the scenario, based on KCNA.

“The unfold of the malignant epidemic is a superb turmoil to fall on our nation for the reason that founding,” the state information company quoted Kim as telling the assembly.

He expressed optimism, nonetheless, that officers would have the ability to convey the outbreak beneath management, saying most transmissions had been occurring inside communities that had been remoted from each other and never spreading from area to area.

The nation has imposed stronger preventive measures aimed toward limiting the motion of individuals and provides between cities and counties since Thursday, however state media’s descriptions of the steps counsel individuals are not being confined to their houses.

Consultants say a failure to manage the unfold of COVID-19 may have devastating penalties in North Korea, given the state of its healthcare system and that its 26 million individuals are largely unvaccinated.

North Korea has been testing about 1,400 individuals every week, Harvard Medical College’s Kee Park who has labored on healthcare tasks within the nation, instructed Reuters information company.

Since late April, 524,440 individuals have proven indicators of fever, KCNA mentioned.

Epidemic management officers instructed the Staff’ Social gathering assembly that “usually, human casualties had been brought on by negligence together with drug overdose as a consequence of lack of expertise of remedy strategies”, state media mentioned.

North Korea beforehand rejected affords of COVID-19 vaccinations, and whereas South Korea, China and the WHO have all provided help to assist cope with the outbreak, Pyongyang has but to point whether or not it’s going to settle for their help.

What’s the true toll of COVID-19? | Coronavirus pandemic

From: Inside Story

The WHO says the pandemic killed almost 15 million individuals within the first two years.

The World Well being Group has revealed that the coronavirus pandemic has killed almost thrice extra individuals than formally reported.

It stated 14.9 million individuals died within the first 24 months of the pandemic.

The WHO says it’s a get up name for all nations to put money into information and their healthcare techniques to make them resilient to crises.

So what classes ought to be discovered?

Presenter: Adrian Finighan


Bharat Pankhania – Senior scientific lecturer on the College of Exeter Medical College.

Azeddine Ibrahimi – Professor of medical biotechnology on the Rabat Medical College and director of Medbiotech.

T. Sundararaman – Well being techniques knowledgeable and a former professor and head of the College of Well being System Research at Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai.

‘Not a businessman’: Hong Kong’s next chief faces test on economy | Coronavirus pandemic

Hong Kong, China – Hong Kong’s leader-in-waiting, John Lee, has likened himself to a conductor with the flexibility to steer a “new symphony” for the worldwide monetary hub.

Lee, who’s working unopposed as the one “validly nominated candidate” in a tightly-controlled, small-circle election on Could 8, has his work reduce out for him.

Lee will inherit a metropolis languishing from two years of political crackdowns and strict pandemic insurance policies, which have fuelled an exodus of highly-skilled professionals and turned the once-thriving worldwide enterprise centre into one of many world’s most remoted cities.

Rolling out his 44-page political manifesto final week, Lee promised to breathe life again into the economic system, sort out town’s housing disaster, curb rising unemployment and strengthen governance.

However any hope of restoring town’s lustre should cope with Beijing’s uncompromising efforts to crush dissent and get rid of COVID-19 below a draconian “dynamic zero COVID” technique.

Beijing’s endorsement of Lee, previously Hong Kong’s quantity two official, has been broadly seen as an indication of China’s prioritisation of security over business. A former safety chief and profession police officer, Lee lacks the enterprise expertise of a few of his predecessors, which embody a property surveyor and a billionaire transport tycoon.

Lee led the response to the 2019 pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong and oversaw the arrests of dozens of individuals below a controversial nationwide safety regulation that has silenced virtually all crucial voices in politics, civil society and media.

Tara Joseph, the previous president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, described it as “flabbergasting” {that a} enterprise hub like Hong Kong will probably be led by somebody with no industrial expertise.

“He could also be a decisive chief. He might make town perform higher. That’s true. However he’s not a businessman. He doesn’t have hyperlinks to enterprise,” Joseph, who’s now senior director of US agency Technique Dangers, informed Al Jazeera. “He has hyperlinks to the safety equipment.”

Joseph, who left Hong Kong partly due to town’s strict pandemic measures, mentioned the “jury’s out” on whether or not Lee or some other chief will probably be allowed to distinguish Hong Kong’s COVID coverage from that of the mainland.

“The longer the dearth of connectivity continues in Hong Kong, the extra hurt it’s doing. We all know how many individuals are leaving. We all know it’s been very dangerous,” she mentioned.

Hong Kong skyline
Hong Kong has skilled an exodus of execs after greater than two years of political crackdowns and strict pandemic guidelines [File: Peter Park/AFP]

Professional-Beijing figures insist that Lee’s give attention to safety is not going to come on the expense of the economic system.

Former Finance Minister Frederick Ma mentioned he’s assured Lee will encompass himself with enterprise savvy advisers who will help steer the economic system.

“If you’re chief you depend on folks,” Ma informed Al Jazeera. “He must get succesful folks to assist. And if he manages to get succesful folks and so they work as a staff, I might be optimistic concerning the future. I absolutely have hope.”

Ma mentioned will probably be necessary for the subsequent chief to resolve uncertainty concerning the metropolis’s pandemic technique, which has prioritised reopening the borders with mainland China above the remainder of the world however failed to revive quarantine-free journey with both.

“I believe what’s secret is it’s essential to decide, in case you’re going to open the mainland border, do it, however if you wish to comply with the worldwide method, then do it that method,” he mentioned.

Lee has mentioned Hong Kong should “increase its worldwide connectivity” and “set up a extra beneficial enterprise atmosphere”, whereas additionally emphasising the necessity to reconnect town with the mainland.

Whereas Hong Kong just lately diminished lodge quarantine from 14 to seven days and lifted a ban on the entry of non-residents, the steps are broadly seen as inadequate to carry again worldwide travellers.

“With out opening the borders, Hong Kong will probably be minimising its alternatives for worldwide enterprise growth,” George Cautherley, a Hong Kong-based businessman, informed Al Jazeera. “I don’t assume there’s any various.”

‘Two bosses’

Lee has chosen a 148-strong advisory staff of highly effective businessmen and politicians, together with town’s richest man, Li Ka-shing, and leisure tycoon and property developer Allan Zeman.

Zeman mentioned he believes Lee will provoke negotiations with China to discover a strategy to reopen the border with the mainland.

“Lee is results-oriented, and he’s a doer, and he is aware of what must be executed, and I believe popping out of safety, he has a unique [kind of] respect from folks, particularly from Beijing,” Zeman informed Al Jazeera.

“It’s not a straightforward place for anybody,” added Zeman, explaining town is caught between the necessity to reopen to the world and reconnect with the mainland, which is cautious of coronavirus instances coming throughout its land border.

“So you need to negotiate with two bosses.”

Ronny Tong, an adviser to present Chief Govt Carrie Lam, mentioned he additionally believes Lee will sort out Hong Kong’s reopening as a prime precedence.

“So far as the struggle towards COVID-19 and opening the border of Hong Kong once more, I’m positive that is a part of the mandatory path with a purpose to revitalise the economic system of Hong Kong, and I’m positive this might be the primary process that he would attend to if and when he will get elected,” Tong informed Al Jazeera.

Lee has beforehand sought to make the case that he’s not beholden to any enterprise curiosity teams, and due to this fact comes “with out baggage”.

“My major concern is the general curiosity, as a substitute of the curiosity of any sure sector,” he mentioned at a press briefing final month.

A spokesperson on the Hong Kong Common Chamber of Commerce mentioned John Lee “brings a brand new mindset to the administration”.

“Lee has pledged to work along with the general public and enterprise to sort out Hong Kong’s longstanding points, such because the scarcity of housing,” the spokesperson mentioned. “So with a transparent consensus and roadmap, we’re assured town will have the ability to bounce again.”

Hong Kong airport
Hong Kong has turn out to be one of many world’s most remoted cities below China’s ‘dynamic zero COVID’ technique [File: Lam Yik/Reuters]

Jonathan Slone, former Asia chair at Jefferies Group, who’s now a non-public investor, mentioned he sees the economic system turning into “a much bigger and larger focus” below the brand new administration.

“I believe they’ll be fairly sensible,” Slone informed Al Jazeera. “Is the enterprise neighborhood going to get every part it desires? No, however I believe that these guys know that the economic system must get going.”

Others are extra sceptical.

Professional-democracy businessman Herbert Chow mentioned Lee has been given an “inconceivable process” in terms of jumpstarting the economic system.

“We’ll see how he can steadiness that with breaking the cycle of going forwards and backwards, faucet dancing on leisure versus the retightening of COVID guidelines,” Chow informed Al Jazeera.

Chow mentioned he believes most companies “don’t care” about whether or not Lee, who has pledged to introduce extra nationwide safety laws, will speed up the crackdown on dissent.

“I believe a lot of the enterprise neighborhood is not going to care an excessive amount of about how the police restore the connection with residents, or whether or not Hong Kong continues to be a police state,” mentioned Chow, who final 12 months introduced his intention to relocate his youngsters’s clothes model Chickeeduck abroad as a result of strain from the authorities.

Requested whether or not Hong Kong may return to its glory days, Joseph, the previous AmCham president, mentioned town is a “new regular”.

“And I believe folks might want to regulate to that,” she mentioned. “Hong Kong shouldn’t be globally linked in the identical method any extra, so there are dangers with it. It might discover a method out of this mess, however rather more as a metropolis in China.”

China’s COVID hard line eats into everything from Teslas to tacos | Coronavirus pandemic

When Tesla’s Shanghai plant and different auto factories have been shut over the past two months by emergency measures to regulate China’s greatest COVID-19 outbreak, the burning query was how shortly they may restart to satisfy surging demand.

However with the Shanghai lockdown grinding into its fourth week, and related measures imposed in dozens of smaller cities, the world’s largest increase marketplace for electrical vehicles has gone bust.

Different firms from luxurious items makers to fast-food eating places have additionally supplied a primary learn on the misplaced gross sales and shaken confidence of latest weeks, at the same time as Beijing rolls out measures to assist COVID-hit industries and stimulate demand.

Joey Wat, CEO of Yum China which owns KFC and Taco Bell, stated in a letter to buyers that April gross sales had been “considerably impacted” by COVID controls. In response, the corporate simplified its menu, streamlined staffing and promoted bulk orders for locked-down communities, she stated.

The urgent query now could be: how and when will Chinese language shoppers begin shopping for all the things from Teslas to tacos once more?

In China’s once-hot EV market, the latest turmoil is a stark instance of a one-two financial punch, first to provide after which to demand, from Beijing’s hard-line implementation of COVID controls internationally’s second-largest economic system.

Earlier than Shanghai was locked down in early April to include a COVID-19 outbreak, gross sales of electrical automobiles had been booming. Tesla’s gross sales in China had jumped 56 % within the first quarter, whereas gross sales for EVs from its bigger rival in China, BYD, had quintupled. Then got here the lockdowns.

Showrooms, shops and malls in Shanghai have been shut and its 25 million residents have been unable to buy on-line for a lot past meals and every day requirements on account of supply bottlenecks. Analysts at Nomura estimated in mid-April that 45 cities in China, representing 40 % of its GDP, have been beneath full or partial lockdowns, with the economic system at a rising danger of recession.

Health workers, wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), walk on a street in a neighborhood during a COVID-19 lockdown in Shanghai's desertedJing'an district
Lockdowns in Shangai and different Chinese language cities are weighing on China’s economic system [File: Alex Plavevski/EPE-EFE]

The China Passenger Automobile Affiliation estimated retail deliveries of passenger vehicles in China have been 39 % decrease within the first three weeks of April from a 12 months earlier.

COVID management measures minimize into shipments, automotive sellers held again from selling new fashions, and gross sales tumbled in China’s richest markets of Shanghai and Guangdong, the affiliation stated.

One seller of a premium German automotive model in Jiangsu province, which borders Shanghai, instructed Reuters gross sales plunged by one-third to half in April, citing lockdowns and trucking bottlenecks that made it tough to ship orders.

He was much more nervous in regards to the impression on client spending energy, he stated, declining to provide his identify as he was not permitted to talk to the media.

“It may very well be worse than the primary wave of COVID in 2020, when the financial restoration was fast and powerful. These days there are extra uncertainties within the economic system, and the inventory and property markets usually are not doing properly,” he stated.

“A lot will depend upon how briskly these restrictions might be lifted however the coming weeks could also be tough,” Helen de Tissot, chief monetary officer at French spirits maker Pernod Ricard, instructed Reuters on Thursday.

Kering, which owns luxurious manufacturers together with Gucci and Saint Laurent, stated a “vital chunk” of its shops had been shuttered in April.

“It’s very tough to foretell what is going to occur after the lockdown,” stated Jean-Marc Duplaix, Kering’s chief monetary officer.

Apple additionally warned at its newest outcomes over COVID-hit demand in China.

Stimulate demand

Metropolis authorities from Beijing to Shenzhen try to stimulate some demand by giving out thousands and thousands of {dollars} value of purchasing vouchers to encourage residents to spend.

On Friday, Guangdong, a producing powerhouse with an economic system bigger than South Korea’s, rolled out its personal incentives to attempt to restart gross sales of EVs and plug-in hybrids.

These embrace subsidies of as much as 8,000 yuan ($1,200) for a choose vary of what China courses as “new power automobiles”, together with from Volkswagen and BYD. Tesla, second in EV gross sales in China, was excluded from the subsidy programme.

The US automaker didn’t reply to a request for remark.

Chongqing, one other main auto manufacturing hub, in March stated it might supply money of as much as 2,000 yuan ($300) for buyers who change previous vehicles for brand new fashions and put aside one other $3 million for different measures to spur gross sales.

Whereas noting such measures, Credit score Suisse analysts nonetheless stated they consider COVID management measures have put each on-line and offline consumption on a downward spiral.

“We see the patron sector as being at main danger if the extended pandemic and additional tightening proceed throughout China,” they stated in an April 19 analysis be aware.