- A huge North Korean military parade held on April 25 was identified as a Covid super-spreader event.
- Soldiers who marched in the event last month tested positive for Covid, Radio Free Asia reported.
- The country has now topped 1.2 million cases of "fever," state media KCNA reported Sunday.
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A massive military parade in North Korea has been identified as a Covid super-spreader event after a number of soldiers who participated in the event last month tested positive for the virus, Radio Free Asia reported.
According to the US-funded non-profit outlet, several guards stationed in the city of Sinuiju, which borders China, began showing Covid symptoms earlier this month.
"They had high fevers and acute respiratory symptoms […] and after testing by the health authorities, it was confirmed that they were infected with the Omicron variant," an unnamed border security official told the outlet. "Most of the ones who tested positive are officers and soldiers who took part in the military parade [...] on April 25."
North Korea held a massive military parade on April 25 to mark the 90th anniversary of the founding of its army, where it gathered more than 20,000 soldiers and put on a weapons display.
State media-released photos showed huge crowds at Pyongyang's Kim Il Sung Square unmasked and not socially distanced.
At the time, North Korea still had yet to report a single Covid case since the pandemic began — although experts have expressed doubt over the accuracy of its Covid reporting.
But after finally reporting its first ever Covid case on May 12, the country is now experiencing a massive outbreak of a "fever" with at least 1.2 million cases, state media KCNA said on Sunday. At least 50 people have died and more than half a million people are receiving medical treatment, the outlet added.
The current Covid outbreak is "closely linked to the April 25 parade," Hong Min, a researcher at the Korea Institute for National Unification in Seoul told AFP.
"More than 20,000 people were preparing for the parade for two months prior to the event and stayed on in the capital for photo ops with Kim Jong Un," he said.