Coronavirus: superspreader military parade blamed for deadly North Korea outbreak
- Photos of the April 25 parade, marking the army’s 90th anniversary, showed huge crowds at Pyongyang’s Kim Il-sung Square unmasked and not socially distanced
- At the time, North Korea still had yet to report a single Covid-19 case. It now has more than 1 million infections, and at least 50 people have died
“They had high fevers and acute respiratory symptoms […] and after testing by the health authorities, it was confirmed that they were infected with the Omicron variant,” an unnamed border security official told the outlet. “Most of the ones who tested positive are officers and soldiers who took part in the military parade [ …] on April 25.”
North Korea held a massive military parade on April 25 to mark the 90th anniversary of the founding of its army, where it gathered more than 20,000 soldiers and put on a weapons display.
State media-released photos showed huge crowds at Pyongyang’s Kim Il-sung Square unmasked and not socially distanced.
At the time, North Korea still had yet to report a single Covid-19 case since the pandemic began – although experts have expressed doubt over the accuracy of its virus reporting.
The current Covid-19 outbreak is “closely linked to the April 25 parade”, said Hong Min, a researcher at the Korea Institute for National Unification in Seoul.
“More than 20,000 people were preparing for the parade for two months prior to the event and stayed on in the capital for photo-ops with Kim Jong-un.”