North Korea Mobilizes Military Medics As Country's COVID-19 Cases Surge Alex_Berlin/ Pixabay

Kim Jong-Un together with a large number of North Koreans attended a large funeral on Sunday afternoon amid the worrying surge of Covid-19 cases. The funeral was held for one of Kim’s top officials, Hyon Chol-Hae, a marshal for the Korean People’s Army who is said to have been groomed as the country’s next leader before Kim Jong Il died in 2011.

According to Korean state media KCNA, the ceremony took place at the Patriotic Martyr’s Cemetery in Sinmi-ri, Pyongyang. Kim paid tribute to Hyon Chol-Hae citing how he had remained faithful as one of his closest political and military aides. The supreme leader said the late veteran revolutionary will always be remembered for his ideas and the cause for which the Party Central Committee stands for.

The funeral was one of the country’s biggest state funerals ever held since Kim’s father was laid to rest. The supreme leader carried Hyon’s coffin along with top officials who tossed earth onto his grave. The supreme leader was bare-faced at the time although all his officials wore masks.

With North Korea officially admitting earlier this month to an outbreak of the Omicron variant, it has only stated how many people are suffering from fever cases. The country has not confirmed how many of these fever cases are actual Covid cases and maintains its claim that there are only just a fraction of Covid-19 cases despite reports of some 2.8 million people that have fallen ill from the mysterious fever outbreak.

As of Monday, the state media has confirmed 68 deaths since late April which can be considered a low fatality rate in proportion to the number of suspected Covid cases. North Korea claims the coronavirus outbreak is subsiding despite its questionable and limited testing capabilities and lack of a vaccine program.

Experts analysts believe the underreporting is meant to shield Kim from further political damage. As it is, the country is still on a nationwide lockdown and maintains stringent rules and protocols to curb further outbreaks. Citizens are banned from traveling region-to-region although agricultural, industrial and other key activities continue to operate to minimize further economic damage.

North Koreas leader Kim Jong Un appearing in a face mask on television
People sit near a screen showing a news broadcast at a train station in Seoul on May 12, 2022, of North Koreas leader Kim Jong Un appearing in a face mask on television for the first time to order nationwide lockdowns after the North confirmed its first-ever Covid-19 cases. Photo by Anthony Wallace/AFP Getty Images

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