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North Korea fighting Covid surge with ‘cups of tea and salt water’

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits a pharmacy in Pyongyang, North Korea. Photo: Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits a pharmacy in Pyongyang, North Korea. Photo: Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits a pharmacy in Pyongyang, North Korea. Photo: Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP

North Korea has recorded more than two million Covid cases.

The revelation comes just little more than a week since the regime admitted it was dealing with an “explosive outbreak” of the virus.

In February 2020, the country enforced a strict border closure to try to protect itself from the pandemic.

When North Korea’s first official Covid infections were announced on May 12, leader Kim Jong Un ordered a strict country-wide lockdown.

The leadership has now insisted it is seeing “good results” in its battle against the virus which state media is referring to as a “fever”.

According to BBC Reality Check, state media has been recommending traditional treatments including having hot drinks and gargling salt water to overcome coronavirus.

Natural remedies in the form of hot drinks have been recommended in North Korea for those who have mild symptoms of Covid.

State newspaper Rodong Simnun is endorsing natural remedies including ginger or honeysuckle teas and a willow-leaf drink. Other recommended traditional medicines include burdock root and japonica tea.

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While these ingredients can help to soothe Covid symptoms – such as easing sore throats, boosting hydration, relieving inflammation and reducing aches and pains – they will not treat the virus itself

State media has suggested people gargle salt water morning and night to flush out viruses, despite little evidence to show that it slows the spread of Covid.

The state news agency has reported a “thousand of tonnes of salt” will be delivered to the capital Pyongyang to make an “antiseptic solution”.

It is not widely thought this will help battle the virus as Covid is mostly caught by inhaling tiny droplets of the virus in the air via the nose and mouth.

Once Covid gets into the body it starts to spread deep into the organs. Gargling will do little to help this.

As well as natural remedies, people in North Korea have been advised to take painkillers and antibiotics rather than anti-virals – both deemed to be ineffective in tackling the virus.

Meanwhile, the country has turned down the offer of foreign aid to help control its ­rising Covid infections.


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