Tags: north korea | ebola | border | closed

North Korea: Ebola Fears Cause Hermit Nation to Close Borders

By    |   Thursday, 23 Oct 2014 01:42 PM

Ebola fears will cause North Korea to close its borders starting Friday, announced three travel agencies operating in the country.

"We have just received official news from our partners in the DPRK that, as of tomorrow, tourists from any country, regardless of where they have recently visited, will not be permitted to enter," Gareth Johnson, who runs Young Pioneer Tours out of China, told Reuters.

"Obviously I’m not happy with it. We still have four tours left for the year including one group going in next week. We're just hoping that this is a storm in a tea cup."

The travel ban is said to be temporary, however it's unclear when it will be lifted. Also unclear is if the ban will include foreign diplomats.

"At the moment, we do not know when the country will reopen its border to tourism," David Thompson of Juche Travel Services in London told The New York Times.

"Personally, I think they are afraid of rumors of Ebola in Guangzhou. Hopefully, they realize that it was a false alarm," said Johnson. Located in southern China, Guangzhou is home to a significant population of African immigrants from the western portion of the continent, where the Ebola outbreak has killed roughly 5,000 people.

Nick Bonner at Koryo Tours also confirmed the ban, but cast doubt on the notion that the ban would be levied on all tourists, saying it's possible the ban might only apply to citizens from nations heavily affected by the virus.

Travel bans on Western African nations have been enacted by nearly 30 countries, mostly in other parts of Africa.

North Korea hasn't closed its border for epidemiological reasons since 2003, when SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) broke out in China.

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Ebola fears will cause North Korea to close its borders starting Friday, announced three travel agencies operating in the country.
north korea, ebola, border, closed
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2014-42-23
Thursday, 23 Oct 2014 01:42 PM
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