As Ebola spreads worldwide, some countries are taking precautions to try to contain the deadly virus. While most countries are giving passengers from West African nations medical exams at airports when they land, North Korea is taking a much more drastic step of quarantining all foreigners for 21 days.
Although there have been no reported cases of Ebola in Asia, the Inquisitr reported that North Korea has banned tourists from coming into their country and the government has taken steps to put business groups on hold. This paranoia is nothing new to North Korea as they have always been reluctant to allow new outside influences into the country.
The quarantine instituted by North Korea will place any foreigner, no matter their country of origin, in medical isolation for three weeks. The Toronto Star reported that the announcement from North Korea was made to diplomatic missions located in the Pyongyang.
People from countries affected by Ebola will be quarantined to one location while those from non-affected areas will be sent to other locations, including hotels. Diplomatic staff and members of international organizations residing in North Korea will be able to stay in their homes if placed under medical observation. It isn’t clear if business travelers or tourists who had no intention of staying in the country for 21 days will be allowed to leave North Korea earlier if they are quarantined.
As the Wall Street Journal reported, North Korea usually does not allow many visitors inside of their country anyway, and they have very little contact with the countries most affected by the Ebola outbreak. Even though North Korea has tried to establish good relations with African countries, they have very little contact with the most affected areas of West Africa.
This suspension of outsiders by North Korea led to a high-level Japanese delegation being met with two people in hazmat suits when they arrived in Pyongyang. It also makes the citizens of North Korea more suspicious and fearful of foreign influences, as well.
There is very little information about whether travel out of North Korea will continue to be allowed, what groups will be most affected by the restrictions and under what conditions they will be lifted. The quarantine announcement shouldn’t be very surprising as North Korea closed its borders for several months in 2003 over the SARS outbreak. However, that outbreak hit closer to North Korea, as China was most affected by that disease.
Is North Korea overreacting or are they doing the right thing? Comment below and give us your opinion.
[Image courtesy of the AP]