Ginger tea and salt gargle: how North Korea fights Covid

from Cristina Marrone

The population is not vaccinated, there are no medicines and help from abroad has been refused. And the regimen calms down by suggesting alternative natural remedies

Gargling with salt water and ginger. The Pyongyang regime suggests the population of fight Covid with traditional medicine. At a stage where the North Korea struggling with ahigh spread of the virus the advice disseminated by the media to combat what is called fever is a blatant mockery of the population that periodically receives theorder to shut himself up at home.

The regime tightly closed the borders in early 2020 and it did not accept vaccines from abroad, not even those offered by Beijing (China had offered three million doses). No one therefore vaccinated and North Korea, together with Eritrea, the only country in the world that has not started a vaccination campaign. The extent of the outbreak is unknown. The cases of fever have now exceeded two million (2.24 million) and the deaths are 65. But the cases of Covid confirmed by Pyongyang are only 168, only one death.

There Bbc, monitoring state media, managed to reconstruct how Covid is treated. For those who are not seriously ill the government party newspaper recommended the classic grandmother remedies: t with ginger or al honeysuckle and a drink based on willow leaves. Hot drinks could soothe some Covid symptoms such as a sore throat or cough and help patients when they lose more fluids than normal. Ginger and willow leaf could possibly reduce pain, but none of these concoctions a coronavirus treatment.

Every morning the state media broadcast a kind of fever case report read by Ryu Yong-chol, whom Reuters christened North Korean Dr. Fauci. And he who dispenses advice on how to deal with the virus

State media aired an interview with a couple who said they did gargle with salt water morning and evening and, according to the state news agency, thousands of tons of salt have been sent to Pyongyang to create an antiseptic solution.

Covid is mainly transmitted inhaling airborne droplets through nose and mouth, but once entered it spreads to organs and replicates and no gargle will reach it

The television suggested using ibuprofen, amoxicillin and other antibiotics. In fact, ibuprofen and paracetamol can lower the temperature and relieve symptoms such as headache, sore throat, but they cannot eliminate the virus and prevent its development. And antibiotics are useful against bacterial, non-viral infections, and indeed abuse can develop resistance. So far in the Western world, three antivirals have been approved for those who are weaker, to avoid hospitalization: paxlovid, molnupiravir and remdesivir.

L’extent of the epidemic is not clear at the moment, but analysts fear that it is more serious than announced and it is hypothesized that it could have very serious consequences for the country given the poor state of the national health system, widespread malnutrition and the fact that the 26 million inhabitants are essentially not vaccinated. North Korea has always adopted the zero-Covid policy of China and other Asian countries, policy branded by the World Health Organization (WHO) as unsustainable. While the first coronavirus could have been contained with lockdowns, the Omicron variant cannot be stopped or canceled, as the experience of the rest of the world shows.WHO referring to the formidable contagiousness of BA.2 and addressing the Chinese authorities that apply the zero Covid policy. If the Omicron variant appears to be less lethal than many previous strains of the virus, this appearance is substantially based on the high levels of immunity achieved by the population of many Western countries and on the protection offered by vaccines widely spread in those areas. All things non-existent in North Korea, where the population still virgin to the virus is highly susceptible: here the virus could wreak havoc, in spite of hot herbal teas and gargle with salt.

May 20, 2022 (change May 20, 2022 | 20:06)

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Ginger tea and salt gargle: how North Korea fights Covid

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