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9 in Connecticut being watched for Ebola symptoms

Nine people in Connecticut who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus have been told to stay at home and are being monitored by local health authorities for symptoms, a spokesman for the State Public Health Department said Wednesday.

The people in question were not sick, the spokesman, William Gerrish, said, but were being watched under an order signed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Oct. 7, declaring a public health emergency in the state.

They were not publicly identified because of privacy concerns, but officials said three were Yale University students and the others were from one family. At least some had traveled to West Africa.

Malloy’s order enabled him to give the public health commissioner, Dr. Jewel Mullen, the power, “under conditions prescribed” by her, to order the isolation or quarantine of anyone she reasonably believed to have been exposed to Ebola, infected with it or at risk of transmitting it. Officials said that the quarantining of the nine people was voluntary, and that none had objected to it.

On Wednesday, federal health officials said that starting next week, travelers arriving in six states from Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone must have their temperatures taken and stay in touch with health officials daily for 21 days, the incubation period for Ebola. Connecticut is not one of those states.

“The governor has asked the department to act out of an abundance of caution, and that’s exactly what they are doing,” a spokesman for Malloy said.

—Anemona Hartocollis, The New York Times

Amazon loss exceeds forecasts, sending stock down

Amazon greatly lowered expectations last summer that it would make any money this year. But it did not lower them enough.

Amazon, the retailer and entertainment company, reported Thursday that it lost 95 cents a share in the third quarter, compared with a loss of 9 cents in 2013.

Analysts had expected a loss of 74 cents a share, according to Yahoo Finance.

Revenue, as always at the e-commerce giant, grew strongly, but a little less than expected. Sales during the quarter were $20.58 billion. Analysts had expected $20.84 billion.

Amazon shares fell 10 percent after hours on the news, which was reported after the close of regular trading. Over the past year, as worries about Amazon have picked up, the previously highflying stock has fallen about 15 percent.

The company was cautious in its outlook for the fourth quarter, saying that even in the best case, it would make less than it did last year. It also said its revenue in the quarter might grow as little as 7 percent — an amount that would be thrilling to any other big retailer but that is much less than Amazon’s traditionally robust growth.

Before the earnings were released, analysts were generally enthusiastic. Cowen & Co. said it expected Amazon to lose “only” 57 cents a share. Colin Gillis of BGC Partners, usually somewhat skeptical of Amazon, issued an upbeat note that focused on the potential of the company to use its hardware for an advertising network.

“We are actually mildly positive on the potential of the current investment cycle as Amazon builds an ecosystem with its Kindle readers (success), tablets (mild success), App store (mild success), Fire TV (limited traction but a good product) and phone (failure, priced too high and limited distribution),” Gillis wrote. He noted that the retailer knew where its tens of millions of customers lived, what they liked and how they consumed.

Michael Pachter of Wedbush Securities was a mild dissenter, citing “a variety of customer experience enhancements” that will soak up potential profits. These enhancements include a streaming music service recently introduced by Amazon. It is free for Amazon Prime members.

—David Streitfeld, The New York Times

North Korea to bar foreign tourists over Ebola fears

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea has announced it will not accept any foreign tourists beginning Friday because of fear of the Ebola virus, three agencies that take tourists to the isolated country said Thursday.

The news came as the country said it was stepping up inspections and quarantine measures at its airport, borders and ports to guard against the spread of the deadly virus, which has killed thousands of people in the latest outbreak.

“Three days ago, they said that anybody who’s been to West Africa would have to provide a doctor’s certificate stating that they don’t have Ebola,” said Gareth Johnson of Young Pioneer Tours, a travel operator based in China. “And then today, they just said no foreign tourists at all.”

Johnson said that he got the notice from his North Korean partners and that one of his tour guides who was visiting North Korea with a group of foreign tourists had also confirmed it through the authorities there. Johnson said his company had to cancel its plan to take a group of 20 tourists to the North on Monday.

He said the ban on entry for foreign tourists affected all the borders with North Korea. Johnson called it a “complete blanket ban,” regardless of where a foreign tourist came from.

David Thompson of Juche Travel Services in London said his company was contacting all customers who have booked North Korean tours in the coming months.

“At the moment, we do not know when the country will reopen its border to tourism,” he said.

Nick Bonner at Koryo Tours, another China-based company that offers tours to North Korea, confirmed the ban but said it was still unclear whether North Korea was trying to ban all tourists or only those from regions that have had an Ebola outbreak.

Both Johnson and Bonner said they were not sure whether the ban would also affect foreign diplomats or businesspeople.

An official at the Beijing office of Air Koryo, the North Korean state airline, said no flights to the capital, Pyongyang, had been canceled, indicating that nontourist visitors would still be allowed to enter.

—Choe Sang-hun, The New York Times