North Korea tour operators say the country plans to close its borders to all foreign tourists over fears of Ebola.
North Korean state media indicated that the country was boosting quarantine measures for foreign visitors, according to Reuters, but tour operators like China-based Koryo Tours and Young Pioneer Tours say North Korea is establishing a temporary ban on foreign tourists effective Friday.
It’s not clear if the ban applies to foreign diplomats or business travelers, but the New York Times reports that the Beijing office of North Korea’s state airline said flights to the capital were not canceled.
At least 4,877 people, mostly in Western Africa, have died amid the worst Ebola outbreak on record. While some countries have forbidden travelers from the most affected areas, no country has banned all foreign tourists.
Some 6,000 Western tourists visit North Korea annually, according to NK News, a U.S.-based site that tracks North Korea.