North Korea reports 21 new fever deaths amid country’s first COVID-19 outbreak

North Korea says 21 people have died and 174,440 people were found with fever symptoms on Friday alone as the country works to slow the spread of COVID-19 in its unvaccinated population.

North Korea said on Saturday 27 people had died and 524,440 had fallen ill amid a rapidly spreading fever since late April. He said 280,810 people remain in quarantine. State media did not specify how many fever cases and deaths have been confirmed as COVID-19 cases.

The country imposed nationwide lockdowns on Thursday after confirming its first COVID-19 infections since the pandemic began.

State media said testing of virus samples taken on Sunday from an unknown number of people with fever in the country’s capital, Pyongyang, confirmed they were infected with the Omicron variant. The country has so far officially confirmed that one death was linked to Omicron infection.

WATCH | North Korea confirms first deaths from coronavirus:

North Korea confirms first COVID-19 deaths days after admitting first outbreak

Six people have died and 350,000 have been treated for a fever that has spread “explosively” across North Korea, according to state media. One of the six people who died has been confirmed to be infected with the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.