UN urges N Korea to expedite talks amid Covid-19 outbreak
Geneva, May 17 (UNI/Sputnik): The UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) called on Pyongyang to urgently launch negotiations with the UN on provision of humanitarian support for the country in the fight against COVID-19, OHCHR spokeswoman Liz Throssell said on Tuesday.
“We encourage the DPRK [North Korea], as a matter of urgency, to discuss with the United Nations the opening of channels for humanitarian support, including medicines, vaccines, equipment, and other life-saving support,” Throssell said in a statement.
The spokesperson also urged the North Korean authorities to facilitate the return of UN and other international staff to the country to assist in the provision of support, including to vulnerable groups and those living in rural areas.
North Korea reported its first COVID-19 cases last week, as several citizens tested positive for the Omicron BA.2 variant. The state-run Korean Central News Agency reported about an “unknown fever” spreading in the country since late April.
The fever is believed to be an airborne coronavirus infection, but the exact number of patients specifically infected with COVID-19 remains unknown. North Korea has introduced a lockdown in all cities and counties in order to contain the spread of the virus.