The fatalities were reported just one day after North Korea officially acknowledged its first Covid case North Korean leader Kim Jong Un holds a meeting acknowledging the country’s first case of Covid-19, May 12, 2022, in Pyongyang, North Korea © KRT via AP

North Korean officials have confirmed several deaths in a mysterious fever outbreak, including one person who tested positive for Covid-19 – reportedly the country’s first verified coronavirus case since the pandemic began.

Hundreds of thousands of North Koreans have fallen ill with an unknown ailment in recent weeks, the state-run KCNA reported on Thursday, citing officials. Of those, six have died, among them one carrier of the Covid-19 Omicron variant.

“A fever whose cause couldn’t be identified explosively spread nationwide from late April and more than 350 000 people got fever in a short span of time,” the outlet said, noting that 18,000 new infections were tallied on Thursday alone. Nearly 188,000 people are currently in quarantine and receiving treatment.