An unmasked Kim Jong Un was a pallbearer at the state funeral of a top military official, North Korean state media reported Monday, with Pyongyang claiming its Kovid-19 outbreak is now under control.
On Sunday, Kim attended the funeral of Korean People’s Army Marshal and Kim’s adviser, Hyun Chol-hee, preparing him for leadership before the death of his father and predecessor, Kim Jong Il, in 2011.
The official Korean Central News Agency published a picture of the masked Kim, with other masked government officials holding up Hyun’s casket.
The North Korean leader has placed himself at the center and front of his country’s cowardly response, blaming lazy state officials for the Omicron alternative-fuel outbreak.
Over the weekend, KCNA said the epidemic was now “steadily being controlled” and that the number of casualties had “dropped sharply day by day.”
Experts question the government’s claims and calculations, citing the fact that the poor country has one of the worst healthcare systems in the world and no Covid-19 drugs or mass testing capacity.
It did not vaccinate any of the nearly 25 million people by rejecting the JAB given by the World Health Organization.
North Korea announced its first coronavirus case on May 12, despite a two-year blockade since the epidemic began.
Pyongyang reported 167,650 “fever” cases via KCNA on Monday, a significant drop from a peak of about 390,000 reported about a week ago.
It also reported another death and claimed that the death rate for “fever” was 0.002 percent.
State media reports did not mention how many cases and deaths have tested positive for the coronavirus.
According to South Korea’s unification ministry, Pyongyang has not yet responded to Seoul’s offer of help.
During a visit to Seoul over the weekend, US President Joe Biden said Washington had also offered Pyongyang a Covid-19 vaccine but had received no response.
Despite the virus outbreak, new satellite images indicate that North Korea has begun rebuilding a long-dormant nuclear reactor.
Both the United States and South Korea have warned that Kim is ready to conduct another nuclear test, the country’s seventh.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)