North Korea suggests Covid-19 virus arrived in balloons
North Korean state media reported that North Korea’s epidemic prevention center had found outbreaks of infection in the city of Ipho, near the southeastern border with South Korea, and that some residents with fever symptoms had traveled to Pyongyang. .
The center said an 18-year-old soldier and a five-year-old child had contact with “foreign objects” in the city in early April and later tested positive for the omicron variant.
In what it called “an emergency instruction,” the epidemic prevention center ordered officials to “vigilantly deal with foreign objects carried by wind and other weather phenomena and balloons” along the inter-Korean border and trace their provenance.
He also stressed that anyone who finds “foreign objects” must immediately notify the authorities so that they can be removed.
Balloon campaigns largely stopped after the previous South Korean government passed a law criminalizing them, and there were no such public actions in early April.
An activist, who is on trial for past activities, launched balloons with propaganda leaflets across the border in late April. And it sent twice more in June, but swapping the usual load of pamphlets for Covid-19-related items, such as masks and painkillers.
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