North Korean COVID-19/Fever Data Tracker

Article last updated on June 29, 2022.

After two years of claiming no confirmed COVID-19 cases, North Korea disclosed a nationwide outbreak on May 13 and launched emergency epidemic prevention measures. The epidemic began in late April.

Officially, only a handful of cases have been confirmed as COVID-19, with the rest attributed to an unidentified “fever.” This is likely due to insufficient testing capabilities, and many are assumed to be COVID-19 related, however, that might not be the entire picture. North Korean state media has been publishing daily data on the outbreak, which is featured below. 38 North will update these numbers daily as new information becomes available.

Current Situation

Data reports from state media note further decline in new fever cases. In the 24 hours to 6 p.m. on June 28, 5,980 additional cases were counted, down 11% from the previous day. New recoveries totaled . This brings the total cases reported to 4,735,120 with 4,723,810 total recoveries.  

Provincial Data

Provincial totals as of 6 p.m. on June 27 show continued decline in each province.

Previous Updates

June 27, 2022

Data reports from state media note further decline in new fever cases. In the 24 hours to 6 p.m. on June 26, 7,300 additional cases were counted. At 18%, this was the largest reported decline. New recoveries dropped 14%, with 9,090 cases. This brings the total cases reported to 4,722,430, with 4,708,510 total recoveries.  

Provincial totals as of 6 p.m. on June 24 show continued decline in each province, consistent with overall trends nationwide.  

June 24, 2022

Data reports from state media note further decline in new fever cases. In the 24 hours to 6 p.m. on June 23, 11,010 additional cases were counted. At 16%, this was the largest reported decline since May 23. New recoveries dropped 18%, with 13,890 cases. This brings the total cases reported to 4,696,580, with 4,676,760 total recoveries.  

In a recent piece for 38 North, Martyn Williams discusses the data trends and how they compare to global standards.  Of particular note, has been the incredibly low number of reported deaths—only 73 since June 16—well below global average COVID-19 death rates.   

Provincial totals as of 6 p.m. on June 23 show continued decline in each province, consistent with overall trends nationwide. The percent of population with reported fever cases is highest in Rason and South Hwanghae Province, though at 0.19% and 0.17% respectively are not indicative of a high concentration of number of cases.

June 22, 2022

Consistent with the recent trend, the number of newly reported fever cases continues to decline. Based on figures reported in the 24 hours to 6 p.m. on June 21, there has been a 12% decline in new cases, a greater drop than the past three days. New cases totaled 15,260, alongside 18,540 new recoveries. In addition, 26,000 people were reported under treatment, bringing the cumulative total number of cases to 4,672,450. 

No new deaths have been reported since June 11, maintaining the number of reported deaths at 72.  

On June 21, KCNA expressed thanks to more than 1.2 million healthcare workers across the country who have been dedicated to testing and treating cases. Amid the epidemic, however, local workers were reportedly dispatched to South Hwanghae Province, to take "a series of preventive measures to probe into, curb, contain and eliminate" a particular "source of an acute enteric epidemic"—seemingly an outbreak separate from what has been presumed to be COVID-related fever cases. 

Provincial totals as of 6 pm on June 19 show a declining number of cases in each province. The largest percent change was reported in North Hamgyong province, with a 40% decline in cases from June 17 to June 19.  

June 19, 2022

The fever epidemic continued its decline over the weekend but numbers of new cases and recovered slowed. In the 24 hours to 6 p.m. on June 19, North Korea counted 18,820 new cases of fever and 21,060 recoveries. In the last few days, those totals had been dropping by about 11 percent a day, but the latest figures represent a drop of just three percent and four percent, respectively.

As of 6 p.m. on Sunday, the country had 31,540 total active cases, according to the latest state data. Since the epidemic began in late April, 4.6 million people have been treated. That’s equivalent to 18 percent of the population, but the number of deaths is just 72.

On Monday, state media reported that “a scientific and realistic plan” had been adopted for “restoring the anti-epidemic stability.” The report hints at problems but did not disclose what had happened to necessitate the need to “restore stability.”

Across the nation, a single province registered a rise in the number of active cases in the 24 hours to 6 p.m. on Saturday. Kangwon Province saw cases rise from 2,112 to 2,140. Driving the rise was a jump in the number of new cases in the province from 1,313 to 1,384. The number of new cases also rose in Nampho.

As the overall number of cases drops into the low thousands and triple digits nationwide, smaller outbreaks have the potential to push overall case numbers higher. This is perhaps a period of greater instability in case numbers and the reason why state media highlighted the need to restore stability to the anti-epidemic push.

June 16, 2022

The total number of cases fever cases continued to drop in North Korea on Wednesday, but the country reported its first death in four days and an increase in the number of newly diagnosed cases in two regions.

As of 6pm on Wednesday, 46,230 people were being treated in relation to the epidemic in North Korea, down 12 percent on the day. An additional 26,010 cases were identified on Wednesday, down 13 percent on the day before.

A single death was reported in Pyongyang to bring the total number of fatalities to 73 people. In total, 4.5 million people have been sickened and recovered, according to state media.

The total number of cases fell in every region of the country but the number of newly diagnosed cased rose slightly in Rason and Kaesong. The rises are minor—from 163 to 154 in Rason and from 437 to 457 in Kaesong—so it’s too early to tell if this is the beginning of a trend.

June 15, 2022

North Korea recorded 29,910 new cases of fever in the 24 hours to 6pm on Tuesday, a drop of 9 percent on the prior day. There were 35,380 recoveries, down 12 percent, to leave the total number of current cases at 52,310. That figure has dropped for the last 16 days and is on target to fall under 50,000 on Wednesday.

In total, 4.53 million cases have been counted across the nation, accounting for 17.6 percent of the country’s population.

Every province and city saw a drop in the number of current cases on Tuesday.

In Pyongyang, the number of current cases dropped from 1,904 to 1,696, which is equivalent to 0.05 percent of the city’s population. Pyongyang now has the lowest incidence of current cases of any region across North Korea.

The highest rate of cases is in North Pyongan at 0.42 percent of the province’s population, although while highest it is substantially lower that levels recorded a couple of weeks ago. On Tuesday there were 12,852 cases in the province.

The number of newly diagnosed cases dropped in all provinces and cities with the exception of Rason, where they rose from 157 to 163 cases. It’s the second time in a week that the number of new cases has risen in Rason, although the increases have been small each time. Rason has had one of the highest rates of cases through the epidemic and on Tuesday it counted 695 total cases, equivalent to 0.32 percent of the population.

June 12, 2022

North Korea authorities announced a new fever death over the weekend to take the total in the epidemic to 72 – a remarkably low death toll for an outbreak that has hit almost 4.5 million people in the country. As of 6pm on Sunday, there were 65,230 people under treatment, according to the announcement.

An additional 35,710 new cases were reported in the 24 hours to 6pm on Sunday with 42,650 recovering, according to the state data. Both numbers have been trending downward for over a week. Today, we add a new graph that charts the number of new cases and recoveries. The graph shows that the two numbers are slowly getting closer together. If the lines cross, it will signify the outbreak is growing again.

On Monday, state media ran an article that praised Kim Jong Un and the Workers’ Party of Korea for their swift handling of the epidemic and for bringing it under control so quickly. The Korean Central News Agency carried 39 images that showed Kim and other scenes from the past month’s efforts to bring the outbreak under control. Similar content is running on state television as media begins to turn the outbreak into a propaganda tool.

June 11, 2022

North Korea’s battle against the epidemic showed signs of slowing on Saturday with small rises in the number of new cases in several provinces and a warning from the state against passive and lax attitudes towards the epidemic.

The country registered 42,810 new cases on Friday, which was a drop of 2,730 on the day before. It was the smallest daily drop for a week.

State media said Saturday that the government was “taking timely measures to make officials and working people guard against passive attitude and laxity” and urged “everyone to abide by the existing discipline and order.”

It specifically called on people to police one another so that “no-one would contact alien things or wild animals along the areas of the border, coasts and frontline.”

Across the nation, 77,150 people were under treatment on Friday while 4.3 million have recovered. The epidemic has hit 4.4 million people or 17 percent of the population. The death toll remains at 71 with no new deaths reported for a week.

While the number of new cases declined overall, they rose in Rason and Kaesong and were unchanged in North Hamgyong province. The rise in new cases is small, so it’s too early to tell if this is the beginning of new spread or a data anomaly.

The total number of people under treatment declined in each province and city.

June 10, 2022

North Korea continues to be winning the battle against a fever epidemic, according to state data. On Thursday, there were 83,980 people being treated, a drop of 10,000 on the day. This was also the sixth straight day with no reported deaths.

The data is impossible to verify but does represent how the North Korean government is presenting the story of COVID-19 to its people: that the outbreak is under control and abating.

But, while the total number of cases continues to fall, new cases are reported each day. In the 24 hours to 6 p.m. on Thursday, the nation saw 45,540 new cases of “fever.” The number of new cases has been falling at about 5,000 per day for the last week. In total, 4.3 million people, or just under 17 percent of the population have experienced sickness as a result of the epidemic, and the death toll stands at 71.

On Friday, state media reported that public health authorities are working to enhance the “scientific accuracy, promptness and credibility of medical checkups, tests and treatment.” The need to enhance those three areas suggests that some problems have been experienced in the last few weeks. On Wednesday, Daily NK reported that North Koreans are skeptical of the government provided numbers and response.

Cases are falling in all cities and provinces across North Korea. In Pyongyang, cases stood at 3,094 as of 6 p.m. on Thursday, which is one tenth of one percent of the city’s population.

North Pyongan province in Rason each recorded the highest number of cases, although it amounted to just 0.6 percent of the population of each area. The number of new cases dropped across the country; although in Kaesong they declined only slightly from 712 to 700.

June 9, 2022

North Korea’s battle against Covid hit two milestones on Wednesday, according to government data. For the first time since data began being published on May 12, the total number of current cases dropped below 100,000, and the country marked its fifth straight day with no deaths, which is a record.

As of 6 p.m. on Wednesday, 93,690 people were being treated for “fever,” according to the government. There were 50,890 new cases reported, which is a fall from 54,610 the previous day. New cases have been falling for seven straight days. In total, 4.3 million people have experienced fever, and the death toll stands at 71 people, according to the government.

June 8, 2022

Cases of fever fell again in North Korea on Tuesday as the country is a day away from a new milestone, according to state figures. At its current trajectory, the total number of active cases is expected to drop below 100,000 on Wednesday for the first time since data began being provided in mid-May.

On Tuesday, there were 103,300 cases of fever nationwide, down from 115,240 a day earlier. An additional 54,610 people were sickened on Tuesday and 66,520 recovered, according to the government.

In Pyongyang on Tuesday, a meeting of the politburo was held. Kim Jong Un wasn’t in attendance, and a single photo released by state media showed the majority of the members present were not wearing masks. The number of active cases in Pyongyang has dropped substantially in the last couple of weeks, and the city has come out of a lockdown.

A politburo meeting in Pyongyang on June 7, 2022 (Photo: Korean Central News Agency)

The number of cases under treatment declined in every province with the exception of South Hwanghae province where, in the 24 hours to 6 p.m. on June 5, there were 14,484 people currently being treated, up just over 100 on the previous day. That’s 0.5 percent of the province’s population. 

The hotspot continues to be Rason where 2,503 people were reported sick, or roughly 1.1 percent of the population. While that is the highest number nationwide, it’s well below figures reported in several provinces in mid-May. 

In North Pyongan province, just under one percent of the population or 28,402 people are currently under treatment. That’s down slightly from 29,887 people the day earlier. In contrast, there are 5,877 people being treated in Pyongyang. 

June 7, 2022

The slow decline in fever cases continued nationwide on June 6 with 115,240 people currently under treatment, down 10 percent on the day, according to government reporting. The number of people newly diagnosed was 61,730, which declined on the previous day for the fifth straight day. 

Across the country, 4.2 million citizens have been reported with feverish symptoms (presumably COVID-19 related), which represents 16 percent of the population. There were no additional deaths reported, and the number of total fatalities stands at 71 people. 

The number of cases under treatment declined in every province with the exception of South Hwanghae province where, in the 24 hours to 6 p.m. on June 5, there were 14,484 people currently being treated, up just over 100 on the previous day. That’s 0.5 percent of the province’s population. 

The hotspot continues to be Rason where 2,503 people were reported sick, or roughly 1.1 percent of the population. While that is the highest number nationwide, it’s well below figures reported in several provinces in mid-May. 

In North Pyongan province, just under one percent of the population or 28,402 people are currently under treatment. That’s down slightly from 29,887 people the day earlier. In contrast, there are 5,877 people being treated in Pyongyang. 

June 6, 2022

The North Korean government continues to report a decreasing number of new cases of fever each day. On Monday, it said 66,680 people had been reported ill in the 24 hours to 6 p.m. on June 5, versus 73,780 and 79,100 the previous two days.

A single additional death was reported over the weekend to take the total number of fatalities to 71 people. That death occurred in Pyongyang. 

Overall, 4.1 million people had feverish symptoms (presumably COVID-19 related), and 127,620 people remain under treatment, according to the government figures. The total number of people being treated has fallen for the last seven days.

Most regions of the country are seeing lower levels of new cases and patients under treatment, but the situation isn’t equal across every city and province. The concentration on Pyongyang in epidemic work is showing in state data as the capital city, which once had the largest number of patients being treated, continues to see the number of cases fall faster than other regions.

In Pyongyang, 6,614 people were being treated as of 6 p.m. on June 4, according to official figures. That’s equivalent to 0.2 percent of the city’s population. 

In North Pyongan and South Pyongan provinces, the number stood at 29,887 and 20,747 people respectively, the two largest in the nation. North Hwanghae and South Hwanghae provinces saw only small decreases in the number of people being treated, and the number rose slightly in Kangwon. 

June 3, 2022

The number of new cases fell in the 24 hours to 6 p.m. on Thursday, down 15 percent to 82,160, according to the government figures. The drop follows a jump the previous day and is the lowest number of new cases registered since figures began declining in mid May.

Across the nation, the number of people currently reported with fever is 153,720, down 7 percent from the previous day. In total, 3.9 million people have experienced fever since the outbreak began in late April. That’s equivalent to 15 percent of the population. The death toll stands at 70 people and Thursday was the fourth straight day of no deaths being reported, which is the longest stretch yet recorded.

Active cases rose in Rason on Thursday to 2,717 people, equivalent to 1.2 percent of the province’s population. Rason has the highest percentage of sick citizens at present, although the numbers are well down from where they were two weeks ago.

Cases also rose in South Hwanghae, Jagang and North Hamgyong provinces. The recent jumps in cases in North and South Pyongan provinces and North Hwanghae appears to have reversed.

In Pyongyang, the number of active cases has fallen below 10,000 for the first time since the state began providing data in mid May. On Thursday it stood at 8,548 people or 0.2 percent of the city’s population.

June 2, 2022

As the epidemic comes under control in Pyongyang, authorities are battling rising numbers of cases in regions outside the capital, and that’s slowing the overall rate of decline, according to the latest government figures.

In the 24 hours to 6 p.m. on June 1, an additional 96,910 new cases of fever were reported, which is up four percent on the day earlier. New cases have been bouncing between 100,000 and 88,000 for the last week as regional outbreaks affect the progress made in cities.

However, as the number of new cases rises, so does the reported number of recoveries. It was 108,990 on June 1. As a result, the overall number of current cases was 165,390, which is down seven percent on the day.

In total, 3.8 million North Koreans have experienced fever, equivalent to 15 percent of the population.

On Thursday, the World Health Organization said that despite the data, it assumed the situation was getting worse, not better, but its evaluation is hampered by a lack of raw data. “We’re working off the same information that most of you are,” said Mike Ryan, the WHO’s executive director of health emergencies. “We have real issues in getting access to the raw data and to the actual situation on the ground.”

The number of people under treatment in Pyongyang continued to fall to 10,392 in the 24 hours to 6 p.m. on June 1, which is about a third of the number of a week ago.

However, the situation in some provinces is not as good. Total cases have fallen in North Pyongan province in the last couple of days but are still more than double the number a week ago. South Hwanghae and Jagang provinces are also experiencing a reversal in recent declines.

Perhaps as a result of the rising cases outside of Pyongyang, state media reported on Thursday that all provinces have intensified their anti-epidemic work. It said each province's mass disinfection of workplaces and dwellings is happening each day, and more than 1,800 epidemic prevention posts have been established. The report said authorities are conducting body temperature measurement and disinfection of travelers.

June 1, 2022

The number of new cases of fever dropped for the second day in a row after two days of rises at the weekend, according to government figures. A total of 93,180 people were newly ill on Tuesday, down from 96,020 the day before and 100,710 on Sunday. Recoveries continued to decline alongside the falling number of new cases, and no deaths were reported by state media on Tuesday.

The number of new cases has bounced in a range from 100,000 to 88,000 over the last six days. At present, 3.7 million North Koreans have been reported with feverish symptoms (presumably COVID-19 related), and this seems likely to pass four million later this week.

While it is still unclear what North Korea’s methodology is for data collection, it is clear that the outbreak is still nationwide. State media has yet to mention a vaccination campaign, although Radio Free Asia recently reported that some vaccines have been administered to soldiers working on national construction projects.

North Pyongan province in the country’s northwest is the biggest worry at present, with cases jumping from 35,959 on Sunday to 43,022 on Monday. That represents 1.4 percent of the province’s population, which is a lower rate than has been seen elsewhere but is more than three times the level of cases seen in the province a week earlier.

Cases in Pyongyang continue to drop to 0.4 percent of the city’s population, but problems remain in Nampho, Kaesong and Rason, where the level of current sickness is over one percent in each area.

On Monday, the number of new cases rose in North Pyongan, South Pyongan, North Hwanghae, Ryanggang and Kaesong.

May 31, 2022

North Korea appears to be winning its battle against the epidemic outbreak as cases trend downwards, although it hasn’t been totally smooth sailing, according to government figures.

After eight successive days of decline in the number of new cases, they jumped on Saturday and Sunday. Sunday was also the first day in more than a week where the number of new cases was greater than the number of recoveries.

However, data for Monday showed new cases declining again and a jump in the number of recoveries. An additional death was reported over the weekend to take the total to 70 people, according to state figures.

As of May 29, 3.6 million citizens, equivalent to 14 percent of the population, have experienced feverish symptoms since the outbreak began in late April. Most have recovered, although 182,940 remain under treatment.

The number of people under treatment across the country has fallen significantly from a week earlier. In Pyongyang, 18,726 people remained in treatment on Sunday, equivalent to 0.5 percent of the city’s population.

The highest percentage of cases continues to be in Nampo, Rason and Kaesong. Those three areas and Pyongyang have led the outbreak, and the faster drop in Pyongyang probably indicates the government has deployed more resources to the capital city. One report over the weekend said the situation had improved enough in Pyongyang that residents were now able to leave their homes again.

May 27, 2022

The number of new cases of fever in North Korea continued to drop on Thursday per government data for the fifth day in a row. As of 6 p.m. on Thursday, new fever cases totaled 100,460, a five percent drop since the previous day. This represents the smallest decline in new cases since the outbreak was reported.

There were 233,090 total cases under treatment at 6 p.m. on Thursday, a drop of 14 percent from the day prior.

For the first time in four days, government data reported one new death, bringing the total number of deaths to 69.

Kim Jong Un issued a special order to mobilize Korean People's Army (KPA) medics to distribute medicine in Pyongyang. According to KCNA, KPA medics have provided medicine and treatments in households in 11 districts of the city.

(Source: KCNA)
(Source: KCNA)

May 26, 2022

The number of new cases of fever in North Korea continued to drop on Wednesday, per government data released on Wednesday. There were 271,810 total cases under treatment at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, a drop of 16 percent from the day prior.

New cases were reported as 105,500 on Wednesday, down nine percent.

While the emergency conditions continue inside North Korea, state TV has broadcast new propaganda posters produced by the Mansudae Art Studio. This one asks citizens if they are following the emergency quarantine rules.

(Source: KCTV via Martyn Williams)

Across the nation, the number of new and existing cases dropped in every province and city. The epidemic is worse in Kaesong where 3.76 percent of the city’s population was sickened as of Wednesday at 6 p.m. In Pyongyang, cases continue to decline and make up 1.15 percent of the population as of Wednesday evening.

Emergency epidemic control restrictions remain in place.

For more context on the extraordinary reporting by North Korean state media, read a comprehensive analysis by Stimson Center Nonresident Fellow Rachel Minyoung Lee. She writes that the level of detail provided is remarkable for North Korea and underscores the severity of the situation and the leadership’s alarm.

Also on 38 North, William Brown writes North Korean imports of goods from China jumped in April, just before the fever outbreak began. Cross-border trade has been suggested as a possible entry point for COVID-19, although North Korean authorities have not named a suspected source.

May 25, 2022 

The number of new cases of fever in North Korea continued to drop on Tuesday as total case numbers also continued their downward trend, according to government data released on Wednesday. There were 323,330 total cases under treatment at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, a drop of 19 percent on the day.

There were 115,970 new cases on Tuesday, down 14 percent on the day but evidence that the epidemic continues to spread even though it appears to be gradually under control, according to state data. As of Tuesday, over three million North Koreans have shown symptoms since the outbreak began in late April. That’s 12 percent of the population, according to official figures.

State television on Wednesday broadcast images of workers delivery food to residents in Pyongyang and rural health workers visiting small villages.

Health workers are seen visiting a rural village in footage broadcast on Korean Central Television on May 25, 2022.

May 24, 2022

North Korea registered its fourth straight daily drop in the number of new cases of fever on Monday and the first day with no reported deaths since the current epidemic was disclosed almost two weeks ago.

There were 134,519 new cases in the 24 hours to 6 p.m. on Monday and 213,680 people recovered, the Rodong Sinmun newspaper reported on Tuesday morning. In an editorial in the same edition, the newspaper likened the health crisis to a warlike condition and called on citizens to rally around the Workers’ Party Central Committee to defeat it.

As of Monday evening, 400,000 North Koreans remain “under treatment” for fever with 2.5m recovered. Together, that means about 11 percent of the nation has shown symptoms since the outbreak began in late April. North Korea has stopped disclosing the number of COVID-19 tests conducted each day and their results.

State media reported over a million medical workers, teachers and students have been mobilized as part of the state response, which has also seen army medics working in pharmacies.

Soldiers seen working in a pharmacy in footage broadcast on Korean Central Television on May 22, 2022.

State TV showed images of what it said was increased production at factories manufacturing traditional Korean medicine.

A worker adjusts pharmaceutical production equipment in video broadcast on Korean Central Television on May 23, 2022.
Medicines seen in video broadcast on Korean Central Television on March 23, 2022.

Across the nation, cases fell in all regions except Rason in the far northeast of the country, and Kaesong, which borders South Korea. Both those areas have been heavily affected by the outbreak and while cases have fallen rapidly in Pyongyang, according to government data, they have not abated as dramatically in those two regions.

Kaesong now leads the nation with 5.2 percent of its population currently under treatment. In Rason cases account for 4.7 percent of its population; and in Nampho, 4.4 percent. In contrast, active cases now affect just 1.6 percent of people in Pyongyang.

May 23, 2022

For the third day in a row, the number of people in North Korea currently under treatment for feverish symptoms (presumably COVID-19) dropped on Sunday, according to government figures released on Monday. There are currently 479,400 people in treatment out of a total of 2.8m who have experienced sickness. That represents 11 percent of the population.

The number of new cases is also falling fast and was 167,650 on Sunday. A total of 68 people have reportedly died. That number has been increasing by a single death for each of the last three days.

The data suggests that the government’s lockdown and restrictions on movement are having a positive effect. On Sunday, state television broadcast images of empty streets in several cities across the nation including Wonsan on the east coast and Sinuiju on the Chinese border.

Empty streets in Sinuiju, North Korea, shown on Korean Central Television on May 20, 2022.

At the same time, thousands of people gathered in the streets of Pyongyang on Sunday, May 22, to attend the state funeral of retired Korean People’s Army (KPA) Marshal Hyon Chol Hae. Almost everyone wore masks except Kim Jong Un and the honor guard members.

Kim Jong Un (center) is seen without a mask at the funeral of Hyon Chol Hae on May 22, 2022. (Image: KCNA)

Active cases have in Pyongyang halved between May 19 and 21 to just over 100,000 people or about three percent of the city’s population. Cases are also falling in neighboring Nampho but continue to rise slowly in the southern city of Kaesong.

The case surge in South Pyongan province, which is to the north of Pyongyang, appears to have ended and cases have dropped for the last two days, according to the data. Cases rose in South Hwanghae, North Hamgyong and Ryanggang provinces and Kaesong city.

May 21, 2022

For the first time since North Korea began providing outbreak data a week ago, the total number of active cases fell on May 20. State media reports 692,480 people were under treatment as of 6 p.m. on Friday down from more than 60,000 on the day. The government reported 219,030 new cases of fever on Friday and a single new death. In total, 2.5 million North Korean have been sickened by the outbreak, which is about 9.5 percent of the population.

On Saturday, state television broadcasted video of Kim Jong Un attending a late-night politburo meeting to discuss the current situation and the bier of Hyon Chol Hae, a North Korean Army marshall who died earlier this week. In contrast to earlier in the week, Kim was not wearing a mask in the TV images but others were.

Kim Jong Un is seen at a politburo meeting in in footage broadcast on Korean Central Television on May 21, 2022.
Kim Jong Un and senior North Korean officials pay their respects to Hyon Chol Hae in footage broadcast on Korean Central Television on May 21, 2022.

Cases continued to fall in Pyongyang, but the outbreaks in the country's central provinces showed no sign of slowing down, according to provincial-level data. The local data lags the national figures by a day so doesn't reflect the drop seen on Friday.

In North Hwanghae province, which is to the south of Pyongyang, 3.1 percent of the population was under treatment on Thursday. The rate was 2.8 percent in neighboring Kangwon and 2.5 percent in South Pyongan province, which borders Pyongyang to the north. Rates continue to be high in Kaesong and Rason but nowhere is as bad as Nampho, where nine percent of people are currently under treatment, according to the government figures.

May 20, 2022

North Korea saw 263,370 new cases of fever in the 24 hours to 6 p.m. on Thursday, state media reported Friday morning. That’s equivalent to the number of new cases the previous day. Two people died and 248,720 recovered, according to the government figures. Across the nation, just over three-quarters of a million people are being treated and 65 deaths have been attributed to the outbreak. North Korea is only believed to have tested a small fraction for COVID-19.

On Thursday, state media reported more on the medical response to the epidemic and provided an insight into what the sick can expect. Regional treatment centers have been formed and more isolation wards created but the technological response appears to extend to more thermometers, unspecified injections and traditional medicine. State media also reported thousands of tons of salt were transported to Pyongyang to make antiseptic solution.

It also said work was underway to identify failings in the epidemic prevention measures so far. Consultations had begun to “immediately rectify” the “vulnerable points, vacuums, evils and defects revealed in epidemic prevention work.”

Cases continue to fall in Pyongyang, likely as a result of strict curbs on movement, but they did increase in neighboring Nampo.

Around 38,000 people are currently being treated in the province, which accounts for about nine percent of its population. The general rise in fever cases in the provinces at the center of the country continued on Wednesday, according to government provincial-level data, which runs a day behind the national data. In South Pyongan province, which is to the north of Pyongyang, cases have surged from 43,736 on Monday to 80,920 on Wednesday, but as a percentage of the provincial population, it remains relatively low at two percent.

Cases are also rising fast in South Hamgyong, which has seen a jump from 21,477 on Monday to 53,814 on Wednesday. The latter represents 1.5 percent of the provincial population. The sole death announced on Wednesday was in North Pyongan province.

On May 19, South Korea's National Intelligence Service told lawmakers that waterborne diseases, like measles and typhoid, had already been spreading and that the fever totals include those outbreaks. That hasn't been confirmed by North Korea.

May 19, 2022

The number of new fever cases has registered its first rise in three days, North Korean state media reported on Thursday. The country saw 262,270 new cases in the 24 hours to 6 p.m. KST on May 18 but only one death, according to the Rodong Sinmun newspaper. In total, just under two million North Koreans, or nearly eight percent of the population have been hit by the fever outbreak with 741,000 still being treated. Total deaths stand at 63.

Current cases are falling in Pyongyang but starting to rise across the country, according to the latest provincial data released by the North Korean government. In the 24 hours to 6 p.m. on May 17, Pyongyang was overtaken by neighboring Nampho as the area with the greatest number of active cases at 7.7 percent of the population versus 6.8 percent in the capital. Cases also fell in Rason in the northeast of the country from 5.2 to 4.7 percent of the population

Elsewhere, most provinces saw infection rates rise. The largest increases were seen in South Pyongan and South Hamgyong provinces, although with only four days of provincial data having been released by the government, it’s unclear whether any of these changes are down to reporting problems and delays or the underlying epidemic.

Korean Central Television broadcast more images of quarantine and health workers in Pyongyang.

Four workers are standing in a line wearing red protective equipment and gas masks
Quarantine workers in Pyongyang's Moranbong District shown on Korean Central Television on May 19, 2022.
Health workers in Pyongyang's Rakrang District shown on Korean Central Television on May 19, 2022.

May 18, 2022

North Korean state media reported 232,880 new cases of fever diagnosed in the 24 hours to 6 p.m. KST on May 17. That’s the second day in a row that new cases have dropped, although with only six days of data is it too early to draw conclusions about what this means. An additional six deaths were reported taking the nationwide total to 62 since the outbreak began. There are currently 691,170 active cases nationwide and just over one million people have recovered. In total, 1.7 million people, or 6.7 percent of the population, have experienced symptoms to date.

Pyongyang remains the hotspot of the outbreak with 269,000 active cases, which is about 7.5 percent of the city’s population. On Wednesday, North Korean state television broadcast images of empty streets and parts of the city cordoned off with “No Entry” signs and guards.

Video broadcast by Korean Central Television on May 18, 2022, appeared to show parts of Pyongyang cordoned off during an ongoing fever outbreak.

It also showed images of health workers visiting people in their homes and workers in full protective equipment carrying bags of gochujang paste, presumably to deliver to homes.

Workers in protective equipment carry bags of shopping in an image broadcast on Korean Central Television on May 18, 2022.

Nearby Nampho has the second-highest level of cases, at 6.7 percent of the population, followed by Rason and Kaesong.

The death toll rose by six people on Tuesday to 62 with an additional death in each age group except the over 60s, which remained the same. Deaths among the under 20s now equal those among the over 60s in this outbreak.

On 38 North's affiliated blog, North Korean Economy Watch, Benjamin Katzeff Silberstein looks at the government's numbers and argues they might tell us more about how the government perceives the outbreak than how many North Koreans have actually been infected with Covid-19.

May 17, 2022

North Korean state media reported 269,510 new cases of fever diagnosed in the 24 hours to 6 p.m. KST on May 16 to 6 p.m. KST on May 16. An additional eight deaths were reported taking the nationwide total to 50 since the outbreak began. The country currently has 663,910 active cases and 819,090 people have recovered. Together, that means 1.5 million people, or 5.7 percent of the population, have experienced symptoms.

Provincial data reported on Korean Central Television indicates the fever outbreak is hitting North Korea’s main cities the hardest. In Pyongyang there were 240,459 people being treated as of May 15, accounting for roughly seven percent of the city’s population. Cases in Nampho were equally high at seven percent and in Rason and Kaesong active cases accounted for about 4.5 percent of the populations.

Of the 50 deaths reported to date, about a third have been among North Koreans aged 61 or older. By age group, infants and children up to 10 years old have been second hardest hit with eight deaths, according to state data.

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