Kim orders immediate release of state reserve medicines amid Covid outbreak
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un rebuked officials for failing to deliver medicine to its people in time amid the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak and ordered the mobilisation of military personnel to stabilise the supply of medicine in Pyongyang, state media said on Monday.
The political bureau of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea convened an emergency consultative meeting again to discuss measures for Covid control on Sunday, according to the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
During the meeting, Kim expressed his dissatisfaction that medicine has not been properly supplied to pharmacies, although the politburo had issued "an emergency order to immediately release and timely supply the state reserve medicines" and an "order for all pharmacies to switch over to the 24-hour operation system", Yonhap News Agency quoted the KCNA report as saying.
He then issued an "order of the chairman of the WPK Central Military Commission on immediately stabilising the supply of medicines in Pyongyang City by involving the powerful forces of the military medical field of the People's Army", the KCNA said.
He berated the judicial and prosecutorial sector, specifically the director of the Central Public Prosecutors Office, for failing to conduct legal supervision and control over the supply of medicine and in correcting "several negative phenomena in the nationwide handling and sale of medicines".
After the meeting, Kim visited pharmacies in Pyongyang's Taedonggang district to inspect the supply and sale of medicine.
He pointed out that most pharmacies are in "poor" condition, saying they are equipped with medicine display cases but lack "store houses", and criticised some pharmacists for "offering service without wearing proper white gowns".
On Sunday, North Korea reported eight additional deaths, raising the total number to 50, and over 392,920 people with symptoms of fever nationwide, it added.
The total number of fever patients stood at more than 1.21 million, among which more than 648,630 have fully recovered and at least 564,860 are being treated.
On May 12, North Korea reported its first Covid-19 case since the global pandemic began after claiming to be coronavirus-free for over two years, and declared the implementation of the "maximum emergency" virus control system.