Today North Korea has finally admitted that its policy of a strict lockdown without a vaccination programme against Covid-19 has failed.
North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un, had vowed to eradicate the outbreak, which it called a “severe national emergency” that had breached the country’s “quarantine front”. But observers believe the virus has long been present in the country.
Outsiders say the nation’s 25 million population is vulnerable as North Korea has declined to administer a Covid-19 vaccine programme, even rejecting offers from the international community to supply millions of AstraZeneca and Chinese-made Sinovac jabs last year.
Eritrea mirrors North Korea
President Isaias Afwerki is the only African leader who – echoing the North Koreans – has turned down vaccinations.
Eritrea has yet to start vaccinating its population against COVID-19, the head of the African Centres for Disease Control said in December.
“Eritrea is the only country now that has not joined the family of 55 member states (of the African Union) that are moving forward with vaccination, but we are not giving up,” John Nkengasong told an online media briefing.
Even Tanzania, which used to refuse vaccinations under its former President John Magufuli, is now promoting vaccinations to protect its people from Covid.
Eritrea’s status as a vaccine denier is confirmed in the latest World Health Organisation Covid briefing.
Forty-six countries out of the 47 in the African region are rolling out COVID-19 vaccination. Eritrea remains the only country in the region that has not yet introduced COVID-19 vaccination in the national response to the pandemic.
Eritrea’s failure to vaccinate has left the country’s people vulnerable to the virus and they have been dying.
The only factor that is preventing Eritrea from an even worse pandemic is its isolation. But this has not stopped deaths.
Until President Isaias reverses his policy and welcomes the offers of Covid vaccines, this is certain to continue.