Kim’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, said the country’s leader had a high fever. “He was seriously ill, but he couldn’t rest for a moment because he was so worried about the people.” She did not say what was bothering Kim Jong-un, including whether he was infected with the corona virus. Kim is known to be a heavy smoker and he is overweight, so there is frequent speculation about ill health. During his illness he was not in public for 17 days.
Text continues below images
The North Korean regime first reported a corona infection in May. Since then, nearly 5 million cases of what the country calls “fever” have been recorded, according to state news agency KCNA. More than 25 million people live in North Korea. Only 74 people would have died. North Korea has reported no new infections since late July.
The World Health Organization (WHO) questions the official North Korean figures, partly due to the lack of testing capacity in the Stalinist-controlled country. In July, the WHO said the situation in North Korea was worsening, not improving.
North Korea has closed its borders to travelers and virtually all foreign trade for most of the pandemic. Only a limited number of goods from China were allowed to enter the country by train or ship. After the rapidly rising number of infections in May, the country imposed lockdowns. As far as is known there is no vaccination program. The regime claims to have developed its own treatment.