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North Korea Eases Ebola Travel Restrictions

FILE - Passengers disembark an Air Koryo flight in Pyongyang, North Korea.

North Korea has lifted some of the restrictions on foreign tourism that were put in place to guard against the spread of the deadly Ebola virus.

Pyongyang closed its borders to foreign tourists in October and required all others entering the country to undergo a strict 21-day quarantine.

At least two foreign tour agencies reported Tuesday they were informed by Pyongyang that most of the travel bans have been lifted.

But a quarantine will remain in effect for visitors from Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and other Ebola-hit West African countries, according to diplomatic sources in Pyongyang.

Many nations imposed travel restrictions on visitors from West Africa following the Ebola outbreak, which has killed over 9,500 people since December 2013.

North Korea is one of the world's most isolated countries and no cases of Ebola were reported there, leading to questions about why the restrictions were imposed.

The North's state-run media, which often publish angry and exaggerated editorials about the U.S., have reported the virus was a biological weapon created by Washington.