Amid the sudden rise in the number of Covid-19 cases, North Korea on Monday reported as many as 8 new deaths and 392,920 more people with fever symptoms as leader Kim Jong Un blasted officials over delays in medicine deliveries and ordered his military to get involved in the pandemic response in Pyongyang.

The Associated Press reported that the North Korea’s emergency anti-virus headquarters said more than 1.2 million people fell ill amid a rapid spread of fever since late April and about 564,860 are currently under quarantine. The eight new deaths reported in the 24 hours through 6 pm Sunday brought its death toll to 50.

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Meanwhile, state media did not specify how many of the fever cases and deaths were confirmed as Covid-19 cases. Experts reported that North Korea likely lacks testing supplies and equipment to confirm coronavirus infections in large numbers and is mostly relying on isolating people with symptoms at shelters.

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They also said that the failure to slow the virus could have dire consequences for North Korea, considering its poor health care system. Its population of 26 million people are believed to be mostly unvaccinated after their government had shunned millions of shots offered by the U.N.-backed COVAX distribution program, likely over concerns related to international monitoring requirements.

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North Korea acknowledged its first Covid-19 outbreak last Thursday when it announced that an unspecified number of people in Pyongyang tested positive for the omicron outbreak. It had previously held for more than two years to a widely doubted claim of a perfect record keeping out the virus that has spread to nearly every place in the world.

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Kim during a ruling party Politburo meeting on Sunday criticised government and health officials over what he portrayed as a botched pandemic response, saying state medicine supplies aren’t being supplied to pharmacies in time because of their “irresponsible work attitude” and lack of organisation, the North’s official Korean Central News Agency said.