North Korea closes border with China amid mystery virus
North Korea stepping up efforts to prevent spread of coronavirus from China, local media reports
North Korea temporarily stopped the entry of foreign tourists into the country amid the recent outbreak of the fatal coronavirus in China, according to local media.
"North Korea will block its border with China temporarily from Wednesday to all foreign travelers as part of precautionary efforts to block the spread of the virus," Yonhap news agency quoted Young Pioneer Tours, a tour agency specializing in travel to the North.
No confirmed case has been reported in North Korea yet, Yonhap reported.
North Korea is "closely" cooperating with the World Health Organization to prevent the outbreak of the coronavirus, Yonhap cited state television as saying.
As the recent outbreak of the new virus in China has been confirmed in four other countries, the death toll from the contagious virus has risen to nine in its country of origin, local media said on Wednesday.
Health officials in China said nine fatalities were recorded in the central Wuhan city where the fatal virus originated last month, Chinese daily ECNS reported. They added that 440 people were confirmed infected inside the country.
With the coronavirus raising alarm across the globe, the World Health Organization (WHO) will hold an emergency meeting in Geneva today.
Japan, South Korea, Thailand and now the U.S. confirmed that they found cases affected by the same virus.
The spread of the new disease in China coincided with the New Year celebrations in the country when millions of people will be traveling to their hometowns from cities to celebrate holidays which have already started.
The mass travel of people has raised the alarm that the disease may spread further.
Mayor of Wuhan Zhou Xianwang urged people not to travel to and from the city in order to combat the ongoing outbreak.