It is unclear who or exactly how many officials were responsible for the unspecified incident, which Kim called a "great crisis." But it appears some members of the upper echelons of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea were replaced, according to the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). An outbreak of Covid-19 could prove dire for North Korea. The country's dilapidated health care infrastructure is unlikely to be up to the task of treating a large number of patients with a highly infectious disease.
North Korea has not publicly acknowledged any coronavirus cases, though experts claim that may be a product of Pyongyang's limited testing capacity. Few believe that a country of around 25 million people has been spared by a virus that has infected more than 180 million people worldwide, especially after KCNA warned last summer that an incident involving a symptomatic defector from South Korea might lead to a "deadly and destructive disaster."