Balloons brought Corona to North Korea

DThe isolated North Korea indirectly accuses its South Korean sister state of being responsible for the outbreak of the corona virus in the country. North Korea’s government agency for epidemic prevention announced on Friday that “foreign objects” such as balloons had brought the virus into the country from the south. The American daily newspaper New York Times reported first.

According to the North Korean authorities, the first infections with the corona virus were registered where balloons from South Korea had fallen. The citizens of the dictatorial state were called upon to be extremely careful with any objects that were carried across the border by the wind “or other natural phenomena”.

South Korea disagrees

For years, South Korean activists have been releasing balloons into the sky near the border when there are northerly winds. They attach leaflets, dollar bills, small Bibles or even digital data carriers to them, on which current news from the free world is stored. North Korea, which meticulously controls and censors access to information, has repeatedly condemned these actions and threatened retaliation. South Korea has repeatedly distanced itself from this.

On Friday, South Korea said activists’ balloons could not be blamed for the coronavirus outbreak. Experts from the disease control authority have been consulted on this matter. Corona viruses are mainly transmitted via droplets or aerosols in the air.

South Korean activists release balloons near the border with the sister state.

Image: AP

North Korea apparently survived the first two years of the corona pandemic without any major infections. In May 2022, the isolated dictatorship reported the first corona cases. According to official figures, 4.7 million of the country’s approximately 26 million inhabitants have developed symptoms of the corona virus – but only 73 people have died from the virus. Recently, however, the government in Pyongyang has wanted to get the infection process under control. Only 4,570 North Koreans are said to have been infected on Friday after the daily value in mid-May was around 390,000.

Outside experts strongly question the official account of the Corona situation in North Korea. The data is not credible because the country has insufficient testing capacity to investigate the spread of the virus.


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