SEOUL: North Korea officially confirmed its first COVID-19 outbreak on Thursday (May 12), with state media reporting a sub-variant of the highly transmissible Omicron virus, known as BA.2, had been detected in Pyongyang.
"There has been the biggest emergency incident in the country, with a hole in our emergency quarantine front, that has been kept safely over the past two years and three months since February 2020," the state media said.
The report said people in Pyongyang contracted the Omicron variant, without providing details on case numbers or possible sources of infection.
The report was published as the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un chaired a Workers' Party meeting to discuss responses to the first outbreak of the coronavirus.
He vowed to "overcome" an outbreak of COVID-19, declaring the country would implement a "maximum emergency" quarantine control system to contain the virus.
The official KCNA news agency said Kim told an emergency politburo meeting "the goal was to eliminate the root within the shortest period of time."
"He assured us that because of the people's high political awareness … we will surely overcome the emergency and win the emergency quarantine project," it said.