What is Yellow Dust, that North Korea has warned could be carrying Covid-19?


Team Udayavani, Oct 26, 2020, 2:30 PM IST

Recently, The North Korean authorities warned its people about a “yellow dust” blowing in from China that they said could bring COVID-19 with it.

According to Asiasociety, Originating in the deserts of Northern China and Mongolia, Yellow Dust is whisked into the atmosphere by strong winds and carried to the Korean Peninsula via the jet stream.

Other than reduced visibility, when the dust arrives it brings along industrial pollutants (like pesticides), viruses, fungi, bacteria, and even heavy metals, none of which are good for respiratory health. Over time, the heavy metals and industrial pollutants also damage crops and soil, meaning the contamination is not restricted to humans.

Usually, when the dust reaches unhealthy levels in the atmosphere, authorities urge people to remain indoors and limit physical activity, particularly heavy exercise and sport.

In some cases, the concentration of Yellow Dust will exceed 800 micrograms/cubic meter, whereupon schools will be closed, outdoor events cancelled and a general warning issued to stay indoors unless going outside is absolutely necessary.

According to Indian Express, since research from around the world has shown Covid-19 can be “transmitted through air”, the yellow dust cloud must be taken seriously. “

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