North Korea is ramping up the production of medicines and medical supplies such as sterilizers and thermometers to combat the corona outbreak in the closed country.

The production of traditional Korean medicines to relieve fever and pain is also to be increased, the state news agency KCNA reported on Thursday. They are “effective in preventing and curing the malignant disease”.

At least 262,270 new cases of fever and one other fatality were reported within 24 hours, according to KCNA. According to official information, this increases the number of infections to 1,978,230.

A total of 63 deaths have been reported in North Korea since the pandemic became known. However, there is no official confirmation as to whether the sick are infected with the corona virus, as the country has very little testing capacity.

North Korea, which has long been considered corona-free, confirmed the outbreak of the infectious disease a week ago and imposed a nationwide lockdown. The UN human rights organization had warned of “devastating” consequences for the country’s 25 million inhabitants.

In the absence of Covid vaccines and medicines, state media called for the use of painkillers and antibiotics, as well as resorting to home remedies such as gargling with salt water or drinking willow tea.

“Thousands of tons of salt were rushed to Pyongyang to make an antiseptic solution,” KCNA reported.

South Korea and the US have offered their help to North Korea but received no response, according to the deputy national security adviser in Seoul.

US President Joe Biden plans to visit South Korea and Japan in the next few days during his first trip to Asia in office. His visit is overshadowed by a feared renewed missile test by North Korea.

According to US intelligence, there could be a North Korean nuclear test, a long-range missile test, or both before, during or after the trip, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said. “We are prepared for all eventualities.”