Without a mask at the state funeral: Kim challenges the corona virus

In the midst of a massive corona outbreak, North Korea's ruler is burying his mentor: high-ranking military Hyon Chol Hae is said to have died of organ failure.

Without a mask at the state funeral: Kim challenges the corona virus

In the midst of a massive corona outbreak, North Korea's ruler is burying his mentor: high-ranking military Hyon Chol Hae is said to have died of organ failure. Of all the coffin bearers, only Kim does not wear a mask.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un carried the coffin at a state funeral for a high-ranking military man. As reported by North Korean state media, Kim carried the coffin with other government officials at the ceremony for Marshal Hyon Chol Hae. Pictures released by the KCNA news agency also showed that Kim was the only one of the pallbearers not wearing a respirator.

North Korea, which is largely isolated internationally, is struggling with an outbreak of the corona virus. However, last weekend KCNA reported that the outbreak was now under control and deaths were "decreasing sharply every day." However, this is doubted by independent experts.

Kim had demonstratively spearheaded efforts to contain the virus. He ordered nationwide lockdowns and ordered the military to support the ailing healthcare system. On Monday, KCNA reported 167,650 cases of "fever" in the country -- a significant decrease from the 390,000 cases a week earlier. The authorities speak of "fever" because there is no official confirmation as to whether those affected are infected with the corona virus. According to experts, the country has hardly any test capacities.

The late Hyon Chol Hae is said to have been Kim Jong Un's mentor and groomed him to take power before his father Kim Jong Il died. Hyon died of multiple organ failure at the age of 87, according to KCNA.

The World Health Organization (WHO) assumes that there has not yet been any nationwide vaccination in North Korea. The isolated country has so far not responded to offers from South Korea and the United States to receive vaccines and other medical supplies, according to the Seoul government. Kim Jong Un initially described the situation as manageable.

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