China fears wind blows Covid from North Korea, urges residents to close windows

Authorities in Dandong, on the border with North Korea, are concerned about the number of recent Covid infections and do not explain where they come from. I guess the wind is bringing the virus from the neighboring country, so I recommend people keep the windows closed. There is no clear scientific evidence to support the theory, so the idea was the subject of irony on social media, writes Bloomberg.

Despite severe restrictions imposed at the end of April, the number of daily Covid infections has risen in Dandong, a city of 2.19 million. Most of the infected people found last week had not left the house in the last four days before being diagnosed with the disease, according to the city’s Centers for Disease Control.

Local authorities say they do not explain what is happening, so they suspect the neighbors. Authorities are urging residents living along the Yalu River on the border to close their windows on days when the wind blows from the south, according to a government notification. They are also being asked to test more often, a Dandong resident said.

There is no clear scientific evidence to support the theory. Research shows that airborne infections are unlikely over long distances, especially outdoors without repeated exposure. Several social media users mocked the suggestion that the virus could be transmitted through the air for hundreds of meters.

However, some residents suspect that the authorities are considering the possibility of the virus being transported by air from North Korea, said the person who spoke to Bloomberg. Health officials in Dandong and Liaoning said they had no details about the virus spreading through the air when contacted by telephone.

Dandong is a key commercial hub for the two countries. About 70% of North Korea’s foreign trade passed through Dandong before the pandemic. Freight transport between Dandong and the neighboring city of Sinuiju in North Korea has been suspended for a long time due to the pandemic.

Ben Cowling, an epidemiologist at the University of Hong Kong’s School of Public Health, said the infections were unlikely to spread over long distances, carried by the wind. Viruses are not resistant to sunlight and the outdoors, he said.

Most likely, people are either crossing the border or moving inside the city, leading to the spread of the virus, said Peter Collignon, a professor of infectious diseases at the Australian National University. Just because Dandong has been closed for more than a month does not mean there is no contact between people, Collignon said.

Then the recommendation to close the windows “could be harmful, because it’s better to have clean air,” he said.

Editor: GM

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