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North Korea bans Spanish cameraman over Ebola fears

AFP-JIJI

North Korea has refused a Spanish cameraman entry for a rare press visit due to Ebola fears, the trip’s Dutch organizer said on Monday.

Marc Martinez Sarrado was turned down because he is from Spain, which is considered by Pyongyang “to be a risk country,” businessman Paul Tjia told the Dutch NOS public broadcaster.

Sarrado is an NOS cameraman based in Beijing.

“As a Spanish passport holder I’ve been rejected to get in #DPRK. #Spain considered country of risk,” he wrote on Twitter.

Sarrado was supposed to travel to the secretive state with six other journalists on a trip organized by the Rotterdam-based Tjia, who does business with North Korea.

Tjia said Sarrado had been given an entry visa but the situation had now changed.

“I have received word that you don’t have permission to enter the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea),” Tjia told Sarrado in a letter.

Last week Pyongyang said it would close its borders to foreign tourists because of Ebola.

Travel agencies — including two based in China — issued statements Oct. 23 informing clients that North Korea would ban tourists until further notice because of the threat of the disease.

The epidemic has killed nearly 5,000 people in West Africa, and some countries have banned travelers and flights from Ebola-hit countries.