August 17, 2022

North Korean COVID-19 testing skyrockets more than tenfold: WHO

Expert says huge increase in samples tested may be tied to Kim Jong Il birthday celebrations

The rate at which North Korean health authorities tested COVID-19 samples skyrocketed more than tenfold in February, World Health Organization (WHO) data shows, in a marked deviation from previous testing patterns that one expert said may be related to celebrations for Kim Jong Il’s birthday.

The DPRK tested a whopping 15,506 samples from Feb. 11-17, according to statistics that it provided to the WHO, increasing from an average of around 1,400 samples during previous weeks this year. The high volume of testing reportedly continued the following week on another 15,522 samples, strongly indicating that the previous week’s figure was not a data entry mistake.