Tags: Ebola Outbreak | North Korea | travel | ban

North Korea's Ebola Travel Ban Bars Entire Outside World

By    |   Thursday, 23 Oct 2014 06:09 PM

When it comes to setting up a travel ban to block the Ebola virus, nobody tops North Korea's dictator Kim Jong-un.

North Korea hasn't merely banned travelers from the Ebola-ravaged countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone like nearly 30 other countries — as of Friday, it will block visiting tourists from everywhere.

The Daily Mail reports that while the Obama administration and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have refused the appeals of 70 legislators to ban travel to the U.S. from the affected countries, the usually highly restricted country of North Korea has opted to ban tourists from anywhere on earth.

Travel operators who were running tours into the hermit-like country were informed that they can forget it – North Korea is closed, possibly for the duration.

"We have just received official news from our partners in the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) that, as of tomorrow, tourists from any country, regardless of where they have recently visited, will not be permitted to enter," Gareth Johnson of Young Pioneer Tours, a travel company based in China that runs tours in North Korea, told the Daily Mail.

Nick Bonner of Koryo Tours, also based in China and running trips to the reclusive dictatorship, told the Mail, "It is unknown how long this closure will be in effect, and due to the very changeable nature of DPRK policy, we are still hopeful we will be able to run the three tours we have scheduled for the remainder of 2014."

Bonner noted that in 2003, North Korea shut down in a similar fashion over the outbreak of the SARS virus and experienced no cases.

"It is unknown how long this closure will be in effect, due to the very changeable nature of DPRK policy," Bonner said.

"Three days ago, they said that anybody who’s been to West Africa would have to provide a doctor’s certificate stating that they don’t have Ebola," Johnson told the New York Times, "and then today, they just said no foreign tourists at all."

About 6,000 Western tourists visit North Korea each year, the Times reports.

ABC News reports the North Korean state news service reports there are no cases of Ebola in the country. Korean state-run television has been running videos of Ebola patients and warning North Koreans of the deadly dangers posed by the disease.

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When it comes to setting up a travel ban to block the Ebola virus, nobody tops North Korea's dictator Kim Jong-un.
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2014-09-23
Thursday, 23 Oct 2014 06:09 PM
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