Does the virus come from North Korea via the wind? The way Chinese officials speak raises eyebrows among experts.
Bloomberg reported on June 7 that officials in the Chinese city of Dandong, which borders North Korea, could not determine the source of the recurrent new COVID-19 cases and assumed that the wind carried the virus from North Korea. They also compelled residents to close their windows at the same time. Experts have questioned these assertions, and others have suggested that the instructions may be detrimental.
According to Bloomberg, even though the lockdown order has been in effect since the end of April, the number of new cases in Dandong is increasing daily. According to statistics from the local Epidemic Control Center, most new cases last week were community transfers. These individuals did not leave their homes for at least four days before testing positive.
The pandemic is also expanding to other parts of China, especially the north. However, authorities have stated that they cannot establish the virus’s origins. The authorities in Dandong appeared to be blaming North Korea.
The Dandong epidemic prevention and control announcement recommends that residents close their windows and travel less in smoky and humid weather, that people living along the Yalu river close their windows when there is a south wind, and that pigeons do not be released during epidemic time.
A Dandong resident told Bloomberg that he was doubtful about the virus spreading by the wind from North Korea, as the local administration said. They are also needed to test regularly.
The border between North Korea and China is 1.300 kilometers long, with some portions divided by the Yalu River, which in certain parts of Dandong is less than a kilometer wide.
The Dandong government’s claim that the wind transported the virus from North Korea has left specialists and citizens doubtful.
According to Ben Cowling, co-director of the WHO Collaborating Center for Epidemiology and Infectious Disease Control at the University of Hong Kong’s School of Public Health, many infectious illnesses cannot transmit through the long-distance wind. According to him, the virus would unlikely survive in an open-air setting, as they don’t do well under sunlight.
Peter Collignon, an infectious diseases expert at the Australian National University, also questioned how the virus got from North Korea to Dandong. According to Colignon, there is a considerable risk of infection throughout people’s journeys, whether across borders or inside cities.
Colignon also stated that Dandong has been under lockdown for more than a month, but this does not imply there has been no person-to-person interaction; for example, individuals can still engage in outdoor activities if required. The window shutting advice” might be detrimental, and you are better off having fresh and open-air,” he said.
“If that theory is promulgated, it makes people stay inside more, where you’re more likely to get infections from other people,” he added.
Many Chinese netizens criticized the new coronavirus’s ability to fly hundreds of meters in the air as unscientific. According to research, air-transmission infection is less likely to arise across long distances, especially in outdoor conditions without regular contact.
In Western nations, the recommended safe distance for COVID-19 prevention in the community is 1.5 to 2metres.
Because the authorities could not identify the new source of infection, the CCP administration was faced with the issue of enforcing the “zero COVID” policy. As new cases continue to rise, the government has taken strict steps to avoid breakouts in China’s border towns.
Dandong is a vital trading hub between China and North Korea. Before the outbreak, Dandong handled around 70% of North Korea’s international commerce. Due to the outbreak, rail communication between Dandong and the North Korean city of Sinuiju has been halted multiple times.