Vaccine diplomacy will help everyone

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Vaccine diplomacy will help everyone

 North Korea publicly declared the country was in an unprecedented crisis from the rapid spread of a contagious disease. The country has entered an emergency state and nationwide lockdown, but the outbreak is accelerating.
Daily cases neared 300,000 in just two weeks, and death toll increased to 42. The cases and deaths could be much larger than reported given the secrecy in North Korea and lack of test kits.
North Korea has kept the virus out by sealing off it border with China. It resumed imports of daily necessities by rail from beginning of this year.
Covid-19 is suspected of breaking out across the nation after the county held large-scale military parade on April 25.
Given what each country went through over the last two years of pandemic, North Korean conditions would only worsen.
The case with North Korea is grave due poor nutrition and the lack of food. Vaccines as well as treatments are unavailable.
Patients with high fever are said to be treated with herbal remedies. Since authorities cannot identify virus infected due to lack of diagnosis kits, they refer them as “people with fever.” The Seoul government is making the right move by proposing humanitarian aid.
It is unclear if Pyongyang will welcome the move. North Korea is just one of two countries in the world unvaccinated against Covid-19.
The country had not received 1.28 million doses under the COVAX program administered for the fair distribution of vaccines around the world. North Korea also turned down 3 million China-made Sinovac vaccine this year.
Direct aid by South Korea is difficult. Cross-border shipments of treatments are possible. But vaccines must be delivered using a cold-chain system. North Korea lacks power to keep the vaccines a low temperatures.
South Korea would have to send freezer transport as well as generators to offer vaccines. Power generators and transportation systems are under U.N. sanctions.
Presidents Yoon Suk-yeol and Joe Biden will have to discuss details at their meeting on May 21 if they agree on humanitarian aid to North Korea to help its Covid-19 crisis.
If Seoul shows a sincere attitude, Pyongyang could positively respond. The aid could break ice across the border.
North Korea has fired missiles 15 times this year and is said to be readying seventh nuclear test. North Korea must open dialogue for the safety of its people and ease tensions.
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