North Korea has barred foreign participants from taking part in April’s Mangyongdae Prize Marathon to be held in the capital, Pyongyang, citing the fears that foreigners could bring the dreaded Ebola virus to the country.
Only local runners are to participate in the marathon.
Recall that North Korea closed its borders to international tourists in October 2014 over Ebola concerns.
According to CNN report, Koryo Tours, the Beijing-based travel agency that specializes in trips to the reclusive nation, said they had been informed of the decision and were in the process of canceling some 465 applications they were processing for the spring race.
Last year was the first time that the marathon had been opened to foreign amateurs. Only about 30 foreign amateurs ran the full marathon that time,
The North Korean government had previously imposed border restrictions over health concerns, such as the 2003 SARS epidemic.
“The imposition of this measure means that, despite having taken tens of thousands of tourists to North Korea since our first trip in 1993, Koryo Tours has been unable to take any tourists to North Korea since last October,” the tour group’s founder Nick Bonner told CNN.