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North Korea has reported the spread of a contagious intestinal disease, just over a month after the confirmation of the first COVID-19 outbreak in the country.
North Korean ruler Kim Jong-un called for the epidemic to be contained as quickly as possible by quarantining anyone suspected to have been infected, according to the KCNA news agency on Thursday.
According to reports, the "acute enteric epidemic" broke out in the southwestern city of Haeju.
Kim sent medicines to the city that were reportedly intended for his family, KCNA said.
The nature of the disease was not clear and reports did not state how many people were affected.
Observers did not rule out the possibility of a typhoid or cholera outbreak in the largely isolated country.
In May, North Korea was one of the last countries in the world to officially report cases of COVID-19.
Since the end of April, the number of what officials have called fever-related illnesses has skyrocketed.
On Thursday, the country reported that almost 4.56 million cases of fever had been recorded so far and 73 people died.
However, there is no official confirmation whether those affected have COVID-19 as the country has hardly any testing capacity, according to experts.