September 22, 2023

The Catholic Transcript

Complete News World

Issue 542: Submarines for Australia and the Fight for the Future |  Topic

Issue 720: North Korea’s COVID mystery | the topic

From March 2020 to May 2022, while the world saw more than 6 million deaths from the disease, the country did not have a single case. Or so said the regime of Kim Jong Un, whose statistics were not verified by international organizations. However, since the announcement of the so-called “patient zero”, which was announced about 20 days ago, cases of “mysterious fever” have been recorded in more than 10% of the 25 million North Koreans, and state communications have assumed that the epidemic has conquered. The borders of the dictatorship can not be crossed. However, the deaths will not exceed 70. TV Globo reporter Alvaro Pereira Jr. makes the calculations: according to official data, the death rate will be 0.002%, a performance 65 times better than that of neighboring South Korea, “a model in the fight against Covid”. In a conversation with Renata Le Pretty, the journalist, who has studied North Korea for 15 years and was one of the few Brazilians to report in the country, discusses the reasons why Kim Jong Un would have declared a public health emergency and a total lockdown, while at the same time rejecting any kind of International aid, including from partner China. All this later claims, in a new development, that the outbreak has already been brought under control. Although “no one can understand it well”, the most plausible hypotheses are “fear of sabotage” or “acknowledgment of weakness”. Alvaro also comments on the dangers to the residents of “real North Korea”, who live under precarious nutritional and sanitary conditions. Despite this, he says, “there is not the slightest possibility that this pandemic will destabilize the system.”

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Podcasts by: Mônica Mariotti, Isabel Seta, Tiago Aguiar, Lorena Lara, Gabriel de Campos, Luiz Felipe Silva, Thiago Kaczuroski, Gustavo Honório and Eto Osclighter. Presentation: Renata Le Pretty.