This picture taken on June 15, 2022 and released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on June 16, 2022 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his wife Ri Sol ju send medicines prepared by his family to the Haeju City, South Hwanghae Province as regards the outbreak of an acute enteric epidemic, at an undisclosed location in North Korea. Image: KCNA VIA KNS / AFP
Seoul, South Korea: North Korea said Friday that hundreds of families have fallen ill with an unidentified intestinal disease, heaping pressure on a crumbling healthcare system already strained by Covid-19.
Pyongyang announced its first coronavirus cases last month and activated a "maximum emergency epidemic prevention system", with leader Kim Jong Un putting himself front and centre of the government's response.
Even so, the virus tore through the unvaccinated population of 25 million, with more than 4.5 million cases of "fever" and 73 deaths to date, according to figures published by state media.
Building on the country's woes, the official KCNA this week announced a new "acute enteric epidemic" in South Hwanghae province, with Kim urging officials to "contain the epidemic at the earliest date possible".