Last week the highly transmissible Omicron virus made its way to North Korea and the state declared a severe national emergency. While other countries around the world were waiting for vaccines to treat this life-threatening disease, North Korea is encouraging the use of traditional medicines to fight the virus.
The state-run news agency KCNA said, “Traditional medicines were effective in prevention and cure of the malicious disease,” but there is no concrete evidence for those claims.
So far, the country has reported 1,978,230 people with fever symptoms and 63 deaths.
According to KCN, “After the Korean leader Kim Jong-Un criticized government officials for their immature responses to the pandemic, factories are mass producing syringes, thermometers and other medical supplies in the capital and other nearby regions,” while more isolation wards were installed and disinfection work intensified.
“Thousands of tonnes of salt were urgently transported to Pyongyang city to produce an antiseptic solution,” KCNA said.
Due to the scarcity of vaccinations and treatments, state media propagated positive patients to use painkillers and antibiotics like ibuprofen and amoxicillin, though they don’t cure you of the virus but fight secondary bacterial infections. They also suggested resorting to traditional medical remedies like salt water gargling, lonicera japonica tea, or willow leaf tea.
Just like in North Korea, every citizen in Shanghai and Hong Kong received a box of traditional Chinese medicine, such as herbal products and flu capsules, to treat Covid. Especially after it was getting difficult to vaccinate the elderly in Hong Kong. North Korea has been denied medical assistance by South Korea and the US.