North Koreans locked down to avoid ‘virus infected’ wind from China

North koreans have been in masks for more than two years but the virus paid no attention. <i>Photo: Twitter/Comrade Natalie</i>

North koreans have been in masks for more than two years but the virus paid no attention. Photo: Twitter/Comrade Natalie

North Korea has warned its citizens to stay indoors, saying seasonal yellow dust blowing in from China might carry the new coronavirus into the country.

“As the new coronavirus infections continue to spread around the world, the need to deal with the yellow dust and take thorough measures has become more critical,” North Korea’s official party newspaper Rodong Sinmun said on Thursday.

The claim the virus that causes COVID-19 could spread to North Korea from the Gobi Desert, 1900km away, appears unsupported.

Two metres is a common social-distancing metric, although the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says droplets containing the virus can sometimes linger in the air for hours.

The North Korean newspaper said citizens should refrain from outdoor activities and must follow prevention guidelines such as wearing masks when they go outside.

North Korea has reported no confirmed cases of the coronavirus, a claim health experts question. Pyongyang has imposed strict border controls and quarantine measures to prevent an outbreak.

Analysts say an outbreak could be devastating for the economically and politically isolated country.

State-run KRT television said on Wednesday the yellow dust and fine dust may contain harmful substances, such as heavy metals and pathogenic micro-organisms including viruses.


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