North Korea warns citizens to stay home, says dust from China may spread coronavirus

North Korea has reportedly warned that seasonal yellow dust from China might carry the novel coronavirus, and is advising its citizens to stay indoors. 

Reuters reported on Saturday that North Korean newspaper Rodong Sinmun said that “the need to deal with the yellow dust and take thorough measures” has become more critical” as the virus spreads across the globe. 

The newspaper advised citizens to avoid outdoor activities and follow guidelines like wearing masks when going outside, Reuters reported. 

State-run Korean Central Television said on Wednesday that the dust could be carrying substances such as heavy metals and viruses, according to Reuters. The news outlet reported that a news reader said that people “must pay attention to personal hygiene” when they return indoors, and that workers should “avoid outdoor construction work, even at construction sites.” 

Turkmenistan has also claimed that its citizens were being told to wear masks citing the claim of dust, BBC notes

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said that the coronavirus can spread through “airborne transmission” to people who are more than six feet away. However, it says that it “most commonly spreads to people within six feet of each other. 

North Korea has not reported any cases of COVID-19, but has imposed border restrictions and preventative quarantine measures. 

Reuters also reported that the Russian embassy in North Korea warned on Facebook that the nation’s Foreign Ministry ordered visitors and staff to stay inside during the dust storm.

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