North Korea has managed to develop its own Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) equipment to test for Covid-19, Reuters reported on Monday (Aug. 23).
North Korean state media reported that for the first time, the country's scientists have developed a PCR system that meets global standards.
Trying to be self-sufficient
According to Reuters, this achievement was part of Kim Jong Un's efforts to circumvent international sanctions and border closures by pushing for more local machinery, tools and materials.
North Korea has not officially reported any cases of Covid-19, but there are indications that the pandemic has already spread to the isolated country.
Kim has said that the pandemic may become a crisis similar to the famine in the 1990s, and warned his countrymen to brace themselves for the coming hardship, reported BBC.
North Korea has also imposed severe punishment to those caught flouting Covid-19 measures.
Despite the immense potential challenges in dealing with the pandemic, the country has refused vaccines offered to them by other countries, according to Foreign Policy (FP).
FP states that North Korea's aversion to receiving vaccines stems from the fear that leadership will appear incompetent if they are unable to secure enough vaccines.
The country is also concerned that receiving vaccines will run counter to the state narrative of self-reliance if the country were to import these foreign-made products.
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