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N. Korea Bans Foreign Runners From Annual Marathon

FILE - A crowd of runners passes by the Arch of Triumph in Pyongyang, North Korea during the IAAF-25th Mangyongdae Prize Marathon, April 2012.

North Korean authorities have banned foreigners from participating in its annual international Pyongyang marathon in April, citing fears about the spread of the deadly Ebola virus, tour organizers said Monday.

North Korea, which has not registered a single case of Ebola, closed its borders to foreign tourists in October and imposed severe quarantine restrictions on other foreigners, such as diplomats and aid workers entering the country.

Nick Bonner of Beijing-based Koryo Tours told news agencies that he had been informed of the ban on Monday morning. He said his company alone had expected to take more than 400 foreign tourists to the marathon.

Bonner said his agency had been told to expect an announcement on the Ebola restrictions at the end of February.