SEOUL: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un guided an emergency politburo meeting and ordered the military be used to stabilise the supply of medicines in Pyongyang as the country battles its first confirmed COVID-19 outbreak, state media reported on Monday (May 16).
North Korea acknowledged for the first time last week that it is battling an “explosive” COVID-19 outbreak, with experts raising concerns that the virus could devastate a country with limited medical supplies and no vaccine programme.
At the emergency politburo meeting, held on Sunday, Kim criticised the “irresponsible” work attitude and organising and executing ability of the Cabinet and the public health sector, state news agency KCNA reported.
The government had ordered the distribution of its national medicine reserves but Kim said the drugs procured by the state are not reaching people in a timely and accurate manner through pharmacies, the report said.
Kim ordered that the “powerful forces” of the army’s medical corps be deployed to “immediately stabilise the supply of medicines in Pyongyang City”.