In the U.S., some states are facing a backlash for imposing mandatory isolation on medical workers who have treated Ebola patients and the army has begun quarantining soldiers who deployed to in West Africa. But North Korea has gone one several steps further by banning all foreign tourists.
According to tour operators in North Korea, the authoritarian regime plans to bar entry to foreigners on tourist trips due to fears of Ebola. Oh no! At least seven people will have to change their vacation plans!
“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,” said Gareth Johnson of Young Pioneer Tours.
As for foreigners who somehow make it into the country, they will be quarantined to prevent any possible spread of the Ebola virus. An announcement distributed Thursday to diplomatic missions in Pyongyang said that, regardless of country or region of origin, all foreigners will be quarantined under medical observation for 21 days. Some may say this is an overreaction considering no cases of the disease have been reported in the reclusive country, or anywhere in Asia for that matter, and very few foreigners are allowed to enter anyways, but any excuse to make the North Korean people more suspicious of the outside world is a good one.
Meanwhile, over in the United States, President Obama has taken a different route to combating the spread of the Ebola virus. Obama said on Wednesday that the U.S. may face more Ebola cases but denounced closing U.S. borders and imposing mandatory quarantines out of health fears.
But that didn’t stop New Jersey governor Chris Christie from defending the use of mandatory 21-day quarantines for all travelers returning through Newark who have had contact with Ebola patients. In particular, Christie has targeted quarantined nurse Kaci Hickox, who returned from treating Ebola patients with Doctors Without Borders in West Africa last week and was quarantined against her will in New Jersey, despite testing negative for Ebola.
Hickox has said that a quarantine is unnecessary as she is showing no symptoms and has tested negative.
“I am not going to sit around and be bullied by politicians and forced to stay in my home when I am not a risk to the American public,” Hickox said on Wednesday.
State officials have said they were going to court to try to detain her for the remainder of the 21-day incubation period – because there’s no way Chris Christie is going to let Ebola wipe out the state the New Jersey while North Korea sits around with a smug smile in their isolated Ebola-free haven!