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China says wind may be carrying COVID-19 from North Korea

Officials in a Chinese city on the border with North Korea say they can’t figure out where persistent new Covid-19 infections are coming from. They suspect the wind is blowing Covid into their country from North Korea.

The Chinese city of Dandong has been locked down from April, but cases have continued to trend upwards.  

Most of the infected people found in the community during the past week hadn’t been outside of their housing compounds for at least four days prior to their diagnosis, according to the city’s Center for Disease Control.

Authorities have urged residents who live by the Yalu River that runs between China and North Korea to close their windows on days with southerly winds, according to a government notice. They’re also being asked to go for more frequent testing, said a Dandong resident, who asked not to be named for fear of retribution.

At this stage, there is not any solid scientific evidence backing up the theory. Research shows that infections through airborne transmission are unlikely over long distances, particularly in outdoor settings without repeated exposure. And not everyone in China is convinced. Many social media users scoffed at the suggestion that the virus could travel in the air for hundreds of metres. 

Suspected cases in North Korea have reportedly topped 4 million according to the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

Representatives from the Dandong and Liaoning health authorities said they had no details about the virus spreading through the air when reached by phone. 

ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH 

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: PACFORUM.ORG

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