North Korean officials suddenly made famous by Covid-19

Ryu Yong Chol, a little-known figure, has become the face of North Korea’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. He will be with Dr. Fauci of North Korea compared.

Mr. Ryu Yong Chol Photo: Reuters

Every day this week at 9:30 a.m., a low-voiced official appears regularly on North Korean television to report the number of fevers and deaths and explain measures to prevent the outbreak of Covid-19.

According to Reuters news agency, Mr. Ryu Yong Chol – a little-known figure – has become the face of North Korea’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. Mr. Ryu will talk to Dr. Fauci from the US or the director of the Korea Disease Prevention Agency, Jeong Eun-kyeong.

In more than two years of border closures, North Korea has not recorded a single case of Covid-19. This makes many people skeptical that it is the secret of this country and not the corona virus that is absent here.

However, since confirming the first Covid-19 outbreak and declaring a state of emergency last week, North Korea has changed its strategy. The country has released detailed data on the spread of the virus and offered advice on how to avoid it.

According to the Korean Central News Agency, Ryu works at the state’s Emergency Prevention Agency, which appears to have been newly established to deal with Covid-19-related issues.

Like the South Korean equivalent, North Korea’s disease prevention agency holds daily press conferences, and Mr. Ryu serves as chairman. Mr. Ryu often wears a suit and glasses on TV. However, information about this official is very rare.

During a press conference on May 20, Mr. Ryu said, “We should intensify efforts to control and isolate infected people without exception to thoroughly eliminate any space where the disease can spread.” He also called for “precautions for loopholes.” .

North Korea said on May 21 that it had recorded 220,000 new fever cases and some more deaths nine days after the Covid-19 epidemic broke out in the country. Currently, the total number of people with a fever in North Korea has exceeded 2 million out of a total population of 25 million.

Hoai Linh