SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea is suggesting its COVID-19 outbreak began in people who had contact with balloons flown from South Korea.
The highly questionable claim appeared to be an attempt to hold its rival responsible amid increasing tensions.
For years, activists have flown balloons across the border to distribute propaganda leaflets, and North Korea has expressed fury at the activists and at South Korea's leadership for not stopping them.
A state media report Friday said officials were ordered to deal vigilantly with “alien things” and balloons blown across the border.
Global health authorities say the coronavirus is spread by people in close contact who inhale airborne droplets and it's more likely to occur in enclosed spaces than outdoors.
North Korea is believed to have gone through a wave of COVID-19. Amnesty International says North Korea has rejected vaccines from the World Health Organization operation that distributes the shots across the globe.