PYONGYANG, July 29 (Aljazeera) - North Korea has reported no new ‘fever’ cases for the first time since mid-May when it abruptly announced its first domestic outbreak of COVID-19, and imposed tough measures to curb the spread of the virus.

The North’s state emergency anti-epidemic centre said it had found zero fever patients in the most recent 24-hour period, state media reported on Saturday.

It said the total caseload was about 4.8 million and that about 99.99 percent of patients had fully recovered. Some 74 people have died from the virus, according to official figures, which would make the North’s mortality rate – at 0.0016 percent – the lowest in the world.

Shin Young-jeon, a professor at Hanyang University’s medical school in Seoul, said such a low number of deaths was nearly “impossible” to achieve.

“It could result from a combination of a lack of testing capacity, counting issues given the fact that old people have higher chances of dying from COVID-19 mostly from home, and political reasons that the leadership do not want to publicise a massive death toll,” he wrote in an analysis released on Friday.

Infectious disease experts have cast doubt on official updates on North Korea’s outbreak since the beginning, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) saying last month it believed the situation was getting worse, not better, amid an absence of independent data.

Many were also concerned that an outbreak in the isolated country of 26 million would have devastating consequences because few people were vaccinated, many were undernourished and the health system was in a dilapidated state.

“The organisational power and unity unique to the society of (North Korea) is fully displayed in the struggle to bring forward a victory in the emergency anti-epidemic campaign by fully executing the anti-epidemic policies of the party and the state,” the official Korean Central News Agency said on Saturday.