Likely the most restricted country in the world, North Korea has announced that they are further closing the country to avoid any possible exposure to Ebola. North Korea is increasing it’s isolation which is already known for its tight controls on contact with outsiders. This will further risk damaging its fragile economy.
Apparently, each night, the country’s television news broadcasts a lengthy specials on the disease, filling the screen with images of grieving families, ailing patients and medical workers in protective gear – as well as some coverage of its own measures, including footage of the session at the children’s hospital.
Last week, the state news agency KCNA announced in a one-sentence news report: “A brisk hygienic information service goes on in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to prevent the outbreak of Ebola.” Some believe the stringent Ebola measures reflect the state’s suspicion towards the outside world while others think the real causes is the countries poor health care system. Apparently it adopted similar measures when SARS hit the region in 2003.
The country announced it was banning all tour groups on 23 October. It also began refusing entry to citizens of countries that had had Ebola cases: a Beijing-based Spanish cameraman was told he could not make a scheduled trip. The country announced that all foreigners entering the country would have to undergo a three-week quarantine period.
Foreign visitors who entered in the days before the quarantine announcement were told that daily temperature checks were compulsory.
However, he added that exemptions were likely almost immediately, especially for Chinese citizens with multiple entry visas. “The people who do have contacts with Chinese businesspeople can get the message flowing upwards that this is seriously damaging to the economy.”
The apparent theory is when Ebola subsides and no one in North Korea has become ill, they will be able to open up the country again and say, “See! ‘We were right’.”