A soaring number of people in Kilju, North Hamgyong Province, are complaining of coughs, phlegm and other COVID-19 symptoms.
According to a Daily NK source in North Hamgyong Province last Thursday, over 20 Kilju County residents a day have been visiting the county hospital.
While people differ in their symptoms, many suffer coughs, phlegm, slight fever and respiratory distress.
Some county residents complain that they suffer from several symptoms simultaneously, notably phlegm in the throat when they cough with fever-induced headaches. Some also suffer from severe joint pain.
However, the source said that the county hospital is collectively diagnosing all these cases as “summer colds.”
In fact, a Kilju County resident in his 40s who went to the county people’s hospital early this month with COVID-19 symptoms was told by a doctor that the Ministry of Public Health had sent a notice warning that “this year’s summer colds display symptoms similar to the coronavirus.”
The patient was diagnosed with a summer cold and given a prescription for cold medicine.
Another Kilju County resident went to the hospital when he suspected his persistent cough and fever might be tuberculosis. The hospital said he had a light summer cold.
The source said while people’s symptoms differ, hospitals are handing down a single diagnosis: summer colds.
“After the COVID-19 outbreak, if you had even the slightest symptoms, hospitals called it coronavirus. But now, hospitals are handing down absurd diagnoses of summer colds, regardless of the symptoms,” he said.
He went on, saying: “It appears they are handing down the same diagnoses — colds — because even doctors cannot diagnose otherwise due to government instructions.”
North Korean media reported on Aug. 5 that, “As no new fever cases were reported during the past week and all those receiving treatment have recovered across the country, the overall anti-epidemic situation of the DPRK has entered a definite phase of stability.”
Since then, North Korea has been claiming a continued state of “COVID Zero” with no new COVID-19 patients or patients undergoing treatment.
Daily NK’s source said that in Kilju County, propaganda is calling daily for prevention and disinfection efforts because of “prevalent summer colds.”