North Korea was among a group of developing nations that, despite proclaiming itself free of the virus, demanded shipments of COVID-19 vaccines, the Wall Street Journal published Monday.
North Korea has lodged an application with the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations, according to the WSJ (GAVI).
The journal said that while GAVI’s spokesman would not comment on the North’s appeal, the organization is currently performing evaluations of the demands of individual nations. The spokesperson reportedly said that a comprehensive update would soon be given by the company.
GAVI said earlier that applications have been lodged by 86 out of 92 countries qualifying for its assistance to lower-income nations. Among the qualifying countries is North Korea.
No cases of novel coronavirus infection have been identified in North Korea, however, according to official data from the authorities, but nearly 12,000 people were screened by December 17 and tens of thousands were quarantined, according to a publication cited by the World Health Organization.
The North Korean authorities have implemented urgent steps to prevent the spread of the disease since late December.
Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine and Chinese diagnostic devices, including thermographs, have also been bought by North Korea.
North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un, meanwhile, marked the new year with a statement to the people of the region.
In the letter, Kim thanked the people for trusting and helping the ruling Party even in the “difficult” times, published on Friday by the state news agency KCNA.
Previously, the North Korean leader apologized for failing to meet economic improvement pledges and for the difficulties people have faced as a result of foreign sanctions and stringent steps aimed at preventing an outbreak of coronavirus.