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WHO verifying North Korea's COVID-19 data amid coronavirus outbreak

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An empty street is seen in front of Pyongyang Station, amid growing fears over the spread of COVID-19 in this photo released by Kyodo from Pyongyang, May 23. The World Health Organization (WHO) is checking suspected COVID-19 data released by North Korea. Reuters-Yonhap
An empty street is seen in front of Pyongyang Station, amid growing fears over the spread of COVID-19 in this photo released by Kyodo from Pyongyang, May 23. The World Health Organization (WHO) is checking suspected COVID-19 data released by North Korea. Reuters-Yonhap

The World Health Organization (WHO) is checking suspected COVID-19 data released by North Korea after the secretive country shared related information on its virus outbreak, a U.N. agency report showed Wednesday.

The North reported to the WHO over 1.62 million people with "fever" and 23 associated deaths between May 13 and 18, according to the organization's latest regional COVID-19 situation report.

The report, however, noted the North has not provided the case definitions for the figures and that the agency is "currently in the process of verifying COVID-19 data" from Pyongyang. It added that there was no information on COVID-19 vaccinations in the country.

It said Poonam Khetrapal Singh, the organization's regional director of Southeast Asia, sent a letter to the North Korean ambassador in New Delhi, May 16, to propose support for the country in its fight against the coronavirus.

On May 12, the North confirmed its first case of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 after claiming to be free of the virus for over two years.

Its state media has been reporting daily COVID-19 related data, with over 115,000 new "fever cases" recorded Tuesday, raising the total number of such cases since late April to over 3 million. (Yonhap)





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