North Korea has issued a stay-indoor warning for all its citizens over fears that the ‘yellow dust’ from China could bring in the novel coronavirus with it.
The warning comes as the ‘yellow dust’ or the seasonal dust clouds hit the region, which comes from China.
So far, there’s no proof that dusts storms can spread the novel virus, even though it has airborne capabilities.
The streets of Pyongyang – the capital of North Korea – was literally deserted after the warning was issued by the nation’s only and ruling Worker’s Party, the BBC reported.
Yellow dust refers to the sand that flows from Mongolia and China’s deserts over the Korean peninsula at different times of the year and carries toxic substances. This has posed health concerns in the two Koreas for a long time.
North Korea has been on high alert since the time the virus started to spread globally, from China, and claims to be COVID-free even as there are over 39 million cases worldwide.
In a special weather report on Wednesday, broadcast on the state-controlled Korean Central Television (KCTV), an influx of yellow dust was announced. All outdoor construction activities were also announced banned.
The BBC’s Disinformation Team found notices of “the danger of invading malicious viruses” circulating in the nation’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper, which is also a government mouthpiece.
The disinformation team also found that a similar claim was made in Turkmenistan, where the so-called virus-laden dust was blamed and citizens were urged to stay indoors and wear face masks.
In North Korea, Embassies also received a notification to ‘exclude the exit to the city and stay home, tightly closing the windows.’
The Russian Embassy in the DPRK said on Facebook that diplomatic missions in the nation, including themselves, have received the notification.
But the question is – could dust storms really bring COVID-19? Turns out, highly unlikely.
While the CDC states that the virus can stay suspended on air for hours, but the chances of infection, even in open, is slick in this way. The primary cause of COVID-19 infection has been found to be via respiratory droplets transmitted in enclosed spaces.
North Korea is reasoning that since the virus has the airborne capacity, it “should take the incoming flow of yellow dust seriously,” NK News, that especially reports on the hermit kingdom reported.
But South Korean media has debunked these claims by the North Korean regime.
North Korea, just recently celebrated its annual Worker’s Party foundation day in a grand celebration involving a mega military parade and show of arms. Tens of thousands of people gathered in the city center none wearing a face mask.