North Korea, which this week acknowledged its first cases of coronavirus since the pandemic began more than two years ago, reported more than 174,000 people with "fever" today.

21 of them have died, world agencies reported, quoted by BTA.

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The Associated Press notes that the infection has been spreading rapidly in North Korea since the end of last month.

A total of more than 524,000 people with "fever" are registered in the closed communist country.

More than 243,000 of them have already recovered and 27 have died.

On Thursday, North Korean authorities imposed lockdowns across the country.

At a meeting on the fight against the infection, President Kim Jong Un called the spread of the infection a "big shock".

He called for unity between the government and the people in order to stabilize the epidemic situation as soon as possible.

North Korea has announced the first case of omicron

If North Korea fails to control the spread of KOVID-19, it could have devastating consequences, experts warn, given that the country's health system is in poor condition and its 26 million people have not been vaccinated against the new coronavirus disease, notes AP. 

The North Korean leader said his country would adopt China's anti-infection model.

I am convinced that we will be able to "defeat this malignant infectious disease in the shortest possible time," said Kim Jong Un.

Kim Jong-un first appeared with a mask, ordered the elimination of the coronavirus

China is the only major economy pursuing a "zero kovid" policy.

However, there are numerous outbreaks of the coronavirus variant Omicron in the country, despite strict lockdowns and mass testing of the population, notes AFP.

North Korea was one of the first countries to close its borders after the appearance of the new coronavirus in neighboring China - in January 2020. It has long boasted that it prevents the spread of the infection on its territory.

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