N.Korea poised to reject offers of vaccines a month after confirming 1st cases

North Korea remains poised to reject any offers of coronavirus vaccines from overseas despite suspected cases in the country that now total more than four million.

North Korea's leadership has taken a hardline stance over the pandemic for the past one month since it officially confirmed its first cases of the virus on May 12, and raised its epidemic prevention system to the maximum emergency level.

With the system put into effect, all cities and counties were placed under lockdown.

All-out efforts have since been made, involving a large number of people, to identify those who have developed fevers, disinfect relevant locations, and provide medical supplies.

Despite such efforts, the total number of people with fevers apparently caused by the virus had reportedly reached nearly 4.4 million over the period from late April through Friday. That's one in every six people in the country.

However, Pyongyang says the daily number of new fever cases has been on the decline since it peaked at more than 390,000 on May 15. It says the situation has since been improving with the daily tally dropping below 50,000 on Friday.

Leader Kim Jong Un appeared in public last month, unusually wearing a face mask.

But footage taken at a plenary meeting of the Central Committee of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party held through Friday showed Kim and almost all other participants without masks.

Speaking to the meeting, Kim stressed that the country will simultaneously proceed with its anti-virus measures and economic reconstruction efforts.

He noted that the nation must further strengthen its economic operations and medical arrangements so that the country's healthcare system can fully demonstrate its superiority and realize a miracle the rest of the world has never seen before.