North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declared victory in the fight against the novel coronavirus and ordered the lifting of all anti-epidemic measures that had been put in place as of May, according to state media on Thursday.
With what international aid organizations claim to be limited testing capabilities, North Korea has reported no new suspected cases since July 29 but has not disclosed how many confirmed infections of the virus it has discovered.
According to a report by the state news agency KCNA, Kim stated that North Korea must maintain a "steel-strong anti-epidemic barrier and intensify the anti-epidemic work until the end of the global health crisis" while lifting the maximum anti-pandemic measures.
Analysts noted that although the authoritarian North has tightened social controls in response to the pandemic, its declaration of victory may be a step toward resuming trade that has been hampered by border closures and other restrictions.
Additionally, according to observers, it might pave the way for the North to conduct its first nuclear weapon test since 2017.
According to KCNA, which cited another official, North Korea's 74 official death rate is a "unprecedented miracle" in comparison to other nations.
The number of people exhibiting fever symptoms was what North Korea reported rather than the number of confirmed cases. On May 15, when those daily cases reached a peak of over 392,000, health professionals issued an impending crisis alert.
The absence of independent data has led the World Health Organization to question North Korea's assertions, saying last month that it thought the situation was getting worse rather than better.
Despite not launching any known vaccination programs, Pyongyang declared victory. The nation claims that instead it used lockdowns, homegrown medical procedures, and what Kim referred to as the "advantageous Korean-style socialist system.
It added that it has been working on new techniques to more accurately detect the virus, its variants, as well as other contagious illnesses like monkeypox.
According to Kim Yo Jong, Kim's sister, the North Korean leader had feverish symptoms himself and attributed the outbreak to South Korean leaflets, according to KCNA.
According to Kim Yo Jong, the sister of the North Korean leader, the outbreak was started by South Korean leaflets, and Kim claimed to have experienced fever-like symptoms personally.
She praised his efforts in a speech by saying that despite being seriously ill and having a high fever, he was unable to take a moment to relax because of the people he had to care for until the very end.
The Unification Ministry of South Korea issued a statement on Thursday expressing "strong regrets" over North Korea's "repeatedly making baseless claims" regarding how Covid-19 had entered the nation.