North Korea: ‘First’ Covid cases prompt strict national lockdown

North Korea has ordered a strict national lockdown after confirming its first official Covid infections. State media have reported an Omicron outbreak in the capital, Pyongyang, but did not state the number of cases. North Korea has rejected any kind of vaccine programme, even when offered a supply by other countries. Instead, it controlled Covid by sealing its borders – and had never recorded a case, despite experts believing the virus has long been present. Outsiders say the nation’s 25 million population is vulnerable due to the lack of a Covid-19 vaccine programme, even rejecting offers from the international community to supply millions of AstraZeneca and Chinese-made Sinovac jabs last year. There have also been concerns about North Korea’s impoverished healthcare system.(BBC)…[+]