As COVID-19 cases in North Korea crossed the three million mark in May 2022, it was reported at the time that Kim Jong-Un-led government was forcing pregnant mothers to give birth in hotels and warehouses that lack proper treatment.
What Happened: According to Radio Free Asia, a United States-funded non-profit news service, pregnant women in North Korea that are thought to be suffering from the disease are shuttled into hotels, warehouses, and other improvised medical facilities to give birth to the newborns.
An unnamed source, a resident of Anju city, told Radio Free Asia that “at the Anju Hotel, men and women with symptoms of COVID-19 are separated and isolated in their rooms.”
In about 200 isolated residents in Anju, “there are many pregnant women among those with severe symptoms who are quarantined in the hotels,” the source said.
“Those who are about to give birth are at risk. There have been cases of stillborn babies born way before their due date because the women are unable to receive proper treatment.”
“The quarantine authorities only dealt with the bodies of the stillborn babies and are not giving further treatment or special care for the mothers who complain of high fever or symptoms of postpartum. Families are outraged that the quarantine officials, who say they can only let the grieving mothers go out if they recover from their COVID-19 symptoms,” an RFA source added.
According to the report, at the quarantine facility, the treatment consists of just two pain reliever tablets each day.
Another source, on condition of anonymity for security reasons, said that in Chungsan county, suspected COVID-19 cases are isolated in an empty warehouse on a cooperative farm.
“Right now, there are about 300 patients that are quarantined at the warehouse and propaganda office at the farm. There are about 20 pregnant women among the group who, after 10 days of isolation in a harsh environment, are suffering from high fevers and pregnancy poisoning, swelling, and pain all over their bodies, so they are appealing for appropriate treatment,” the second source told Radio Free Asia.
The COVID-19 situation has severely impacted the isolated nation but its supreme leader Kim Jong-Un has declined to accept any help, even from its trade ally China — let alone the U.S., WHO or South Korea.
Many experts believe that the number that North Korean state media is reporting is just a fraction of the total cases that the country may be seeing. As of May 25, more than three million COVID-19 cases have been reported in North Korea, with no deaths reported on Tuesday, according to state media KCNA Watch.
This story was originally published on May. 25, 2022.
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