Tour groups say North Korea restricts tourists due to Ebola scare

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PYONGYANG, North Korea – North Korea is now exerting preventive measures on the spread of Ebola Virus.

The KCNA, a state-run news agency, reported that the State Emergency Anti-epidemic Committee was organized with the involvement of relevant units including the Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Labor and Ministry of Railways to control the infection by Ebola virus.

The State Emergency Anti-epidemic Committee and emergency anti-epidemic headquarters in provinces, cities (districts) and counties channel efforts into checking the infiltration of the virus now that it has not entered the country as yet.

Travelers and materials undergo more thorough-going check and quarantine at airfields, trading ports and border railway stations

The public health organs are regularly examining all people in order to rapidly confirm people suspicious of having contracted the disease and taking measures to treat them.

(Photo Credit: Boiseweekly)
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In a similar report, CNN posted about the statement  by the Beijing-based Koryo Tours and Young Pioneers Tours issued on Thursday saying they received news “from our partners in Pyongyang” that international tourists will not be allowed to enter North Korea starting Friday.

Gareth Johnson of Young Pioneer Tours, a travel operator based in China, in an interview post in NY Times and Metro said “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.”

“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,“And then today, they just said no foreign tourists at all.”

Nick Bonner of Koryo Tours said ‘”t 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.”

However, the KCNA report did not talk about  closing its borders to international tourists  remaining  unclear if business travelers to North Korea will be affected.

North Korea has been a popular tourist destination in recent years. However, if banning tourists to prevent the spread of Ebola is true, this is not the first time the North Korea acted for its safety; since 2003, it has shut down its borders when the SARS epidemic swept it fangs on Eastern Asia.