South Korea says leaflets sent by defectors unlikely to be cause of COVID in North Korea


FILE PHOTO: A sign depicting a scene of medical products transportation is displayed at the empty street, amid growing fears over the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this photo released by Kyodo on May 23, 2022. Kyodo via REUTERS

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea's unification ministry said on Friday there is "no possibility" of COVID-19 entering North Korea via contaminated balloons sent by activists in the South.

North Korea said earlier in the day the country's first outbreak began with patients touching "alien things" near the border with South Korea, apparently shifting blame to its neighbour for the wave of infections that hit the isolated country.

The North's state media did not directly mention South Korea, but North Korean defectors and activists have for decades flown balloons from the South across the heavily fortified border, carrying leaflets and humanitarian aid.

(Reporting by Soo-hyang Choi; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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