North Korea warned its citizens to stay indoors over fears that “yellow dust” which blows in from China could bring coronavirus with it.
State broadcaster warned of an influx on Thursday, resulting in the streets of the capital Pyongyang to be virtually empty following the warning.
Yellow dust refers to sand from Mongolian and Chinese deserts that blows into North and South Korea at certain times of the year. It is intermingled with toxic dust that for years has raised health concerns in both countries.
The secretive state claims to be coronavirus-free but has been on high alert since January with strict border closures and restrictions on movement.
There is no known link between the seasonal dust clouds and Covid-19.
However, they are not the only country to suggest a link. Turkmenistan also alleged virus-laden dust was the reason citizens were being told to wear masks. They have denied trying to cover up an outbreak.
Media in neighbouring South Korea dismissed the suggestion that yellow dust from China could spread Covid-19 to the North as impossible, according to NK News.
The dust had cleared from the Korean peninsula by Friday and was forecast to stay that way on the weekend.