Cut off from the rest of the world, North Korea is trying to fight the spread of Covid-19 with hot ginger tea, a willow-leaf drink and salt water which are traditional remedies for sore throats and coughs.
Cut off from the rest of the world, North Korea is trying to fight the spread of Covid-19 with hot ginger tea, a willow-leaf drink and salt water which are traditional remedies for sore throats and coughs, according to a BBC report.
The country does not have access to effective anti-viral drugs even as coronavirus infections are spreading fast in an unvaccinated population.
In early 2020 with the first outbreak of Covid-19, North Korea had sealed its borders in order to insulate itself from the pandemic. Its leadership has so far rejected outside medical support from China and South Korea.
North Korea’s state media has recommended traditional treatments to deal with what is referred to as "fever". For those not seriously ill, ruling-party newspaper Rodong Simnun recommended remedies including ginger or honeysuckle tea and a willow-leaf drink, the BBC report states.
Hot drinks might soothe some Covid symptoms, such as a sore throat or cough, and help hydration when patients are losing more fluid than normal.
Ginger and willow leaf also relieve inflammation and reduce pain.
But they are not a treatment for the virus which enters the organs of the human system which go far beyond the nose and throat, according to doctors.
According to the BBC report, North Korea’s State media recently interviewed a couple who recommended gargling with salt water morning and night. A "thousand of tonnes of salt" had been sent to Pyongyang to make an "antiseptic solution", the state news agency reported.
However, a saline solution cannot slow the spread of Covid.
North Korea has very limited modern health facilities which are confined to large cities but these, too, are languishing due to lack of resources.
State television has also advised patients to use painkillers such as ibuprofen as well as amoxicillin and other antibiotics.
However, while Ibuprofen can bring down temperature and ease symptoms such as headache or sore throat it cannot clear the virus or prevent it from spreading.
Besides, antibiotics are meant for bacterial infections not viruses and are, therefore, not recommended by doctors.
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