North Korea confirms 1st COVID outbreak, Kim orders lockdown

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea has imposed a nationwide lockdown to control its first acknowledged COVID-19 outbreak of the pandemic.

It had held for more than two years to a widely doubted claim of a perfect record keeping out the virus that has spread to nearly every place in the world.

The outbreak forced leader Kim Jong Un to wear a mask in public likely for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

The size of the outbreak isn’t immediately known but it could have serious consequences because the country has a poor health care system and its 26 million people are believed to be mostly unvaccinated.

Some experts say the North, by its rare admission of an outbreak, may be seeking outside aid such as vaccines and COVID-19 treatment pills.

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