SubscribeMOSCOW (Sputnik) – South Korea intends to hold talks with North Korea next week to discuss COVID-19 relief measures that Seoul can offer to help the neighboring country control the spread of the disease, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported on Sunday, citing an unnamed government official.On Thursday, Pyongyang announced the first wave of COVID-19 cases in the country, as several citizens tested positive for the Omicron BA.2 variant. According to the state-run news agency KCNA, an “unfamiliar fever” has been spreading in the country since late April. On Saturday, North Korea confirmed over 296,000 new patients with fever and 15 more dead, totaling more than 820,000 people sick.
"The government is actively reviewing to officially propose to North Korea holding a working-level meeting at the beginning of the week", a senior South Korean official said as quoted by Yonhap, adding that the proposal will be officially presented after Seoul conducts consultations with relevant ministries.
According to the news agency, newly elected South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol offered on Friday to supply North Korea with COVID-19 vaccines and medical equipment.FILE – An employee of the Kyonghung Foodstuff General Store disinfects the showroom in Pyongyang, North Korea, Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021. Before acknowledging domestic COVID-19 cases, Thursday, May 12, 2022, North Korea spent 2 1/2 years rejecting outside offers of vaccines and steadfastly claiming that its superior socialist system was protecting its 26 million people from “a malicious virus” that had killed millions around the world.North Korea has put in place an “emergency anti-epidemic system of the highest order,” at the direction of the country’s leader Kim Jong-un, a lockdown has been imposed in all cities and counties to stop the spread of the virus and “eradicate the source of infection” as quickly as possible.On Thursday, the North Korean leader held a meeting with senior government officials to discuss the response measures after the first case of Omicron was registered in Pyongyang on 8 May. Kim ordered a strict nationwide lockdown and mobilisation of epidemic prevention system.