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Ebola in North Korea: Latest Update

Ebola in North Korea: Latest Update
October 23, 2014

Air Koryo at Sunan International Airport in Pyongyang

UPDATED March 2, 2015

The Ebola travel ban has been lifted and we can resume tours to North Korea. Our first tour this year will be our 5-Day Standard tour at the end of March. We’re taking bookings until March 13, 2015.

UPDATED February 23, 2015

We have received BREAKING NEWS that foreigner participation in the Pyongyang Marathon will be canceled due to the continuing Ebola related travel restriction. We are yet unsure as to when the travel ban will be lifted, and we’ll keep everyone informed as soon as we hear. 

UPDATED December 8, 2014

Ebola-related border restrictions continue to affect tourism in the DPRK. Earlier in the month, we cancelled our December Masik Pass ski tours and most recently, we have had to cancel our annual New Year’s in DPRK tour that was set to depart from Beijing on December 30. We are receiving indication, however, that our tours to the DPRK can resume in the new year just in time for our January ski tours. Our 2015 spring tours will likely not be affected and we have received confirmation from our local partners that our Pyongyang Marathon tours are a definite go! 

As we mention below, for those signed up on any affected tours, we are giving travelers the option of receiving a complete refund on the tour or applying the credit towards any of our 2015 tours at a discounted rate.

Non-tourist delegation travel into the DPRK also remains affected, although Air Koryo flights are continuing to run for essential travel. See our Air Koryo page for the updated/abbreviated winter flight schedule.

UPDATED October 30, 2014

As of today, we have heard from our DPRK contacts that all foreign nationals entering the DPRK—both tourist and non-tourists—are now subject to a 21-day quarantine period upon entry.

All foreign nationals who are entering from Ebola affected areas are to be quarantined at the Chongchongang Hotel in the city of Anju, North Pyongan Province for a period of 21 days under medical observation. Foreign nationals who enter from all other areas will also be quarantined for a period of 21 days but at the hotels in which they originally intended to stay. Diplomatic personnel and members of international organizations that are resident in the DPRK will be quarantined in their respective missions, according to the UK’s official travel advice.

As we mentioned earlier, our November tours are canceled and we’re on standby for our December tours. Those who were on our November tours have been given the option to receive a complete refund or to reschedule their tour at anytime in 2014 or 2015.

For our non-tourist clients, we’re allowing travelers the ability to reschedule their Air Koryo flight tickets for anytime within 1 year from the date of issuance of the original tickets. In certain cases, we will apply credit for other unused corporate travel services. Please contact us at info@uritours.com with any questions. 

UPDATED October 27, 2014

We have heard from multiple sources on the ground that the DPRK is in the process of setting up a quarantine process whereby foreigners who have been to affected areas are quarantined for a period of 21 days (since the date of departure from the affected areas) in nearby designated hospitals. So far, the only “affected areas” appear to be in Africa. We have yet to see how this quarantine will be executed.

Currently, there is a distinction between non-tourist travelers and tourist travelers. Non-tourist travelers include our delegation, business, diplomatic and NGO clients. Therefore, our corporate travel services are not affected at the moment and we can continue to assist you with your November trip plans. 

For our tour clients, we’re still on standby but we are hopeful that they will allow tourists who have not traveled to affected areas to visit. While our November trips have been canceled, our December trips are still scheduled to run. Those on our December and other future tours, please be prepared to provide a health certificate, or if you cannot see your doctor a written statement, stating that you have not recently been to any affected areas and that you are clear of any symptoms.

We will continue to keep everyone updated.

UPDATED October 25, 2014

As many of you have heard, there is a temporary halt on tourist travel into the country while the DPRK implements measures to protect against the spread of Ebola.

We are still accepting bookings on our future tours, but should this new development affect your travel, we are giving tourists the ability to reschedule at any time or to receive a complete refund.

This policy only affects our short term tourism clients. Our business, diplomatic and delegation travelers are not affected and may continue to travel. Such non-tourist clients should be prepared to present Ebola clearance certificates or written statements that they have not been to affected countries.

Interestingly, reports originating from primary DPRK sources do not cite a blanket ban on tourist travel. Instead, they report: “Travellers and materials undergo more thorough-going check and quarantine at airfields, trading ports and border railway stations than ever before.” (See those sources here: KCNA, Naenara, KCNA Japan Edition). Based on conversations with our sources on the ground, we believe that the suspension of tourist travel is temporary and that this time is being used to implement the screening procedures outlined in these articles.

We will continue to keep everyone updated.


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October 23, 2014

As of 9am this morning in Pyongyang, our partners informed us of the following protocol for precautions against the Ebola virus:

Travelers who have traveled in Africa prior to arriving to the DPRK must present an Ebola clearance certificate.
Those who have not traveled in Africa must still submit a written statement stating that they have not traveled recently in Africa.
We are not aware of any protocols the DPRK is implementing for travelers who have been to other parts of the world affected by the virus.

While we were not informed on an official suspension on foreign travel, we are waiting for an update on the situation. We currently have clients traveling in the country.