South Korea took steps on Friday to restrict travelers from mainland China, imposing visa restrictions, requiring screening and restricting flights as Beijing grapples with a surge Covid cases.
Seoul’s decision comes after countries including Italy, Japan, India and the United States announced their own measures, which they see as an attempt to avoid importing novel coronavirus variants from China.
“Until next February, people entering (South Korea) from China will have to undergo Covid screening before and after their arrival,” Seoul Prime Minister Han Duck-soo said on Friday.
Travelers from China must provide a negative PCR test done within 48 hours prior to boarding their flight to South Korea or a negative antigen test within 24 hours prior to departure.
Han said they will also be required to undergo PCR testing the first day after arrival.
“Seoul is definitely strengthening some anti-epidemic measures to prevent the spread of the virus in our country due to the worsening Covid-19 situation in China,” Han added.
China’s hospitals have been overwhelmed by an explosion in cases after Beijing began easing tough controls that have taken a toll on the economy and sparked protests across the country. nationwide.
An increasing number of countries are imposing restrictions on travelers arriving from China after Beijing’s decision to end the mandatory quarantine upon arrival prompted many to make travel plans.
Chinese citizens have largely been confined to their home country since Beijing withdrew the bridge in March 2020.
South Korea will also limit the issuance of short-term visas to Chinese nationals, with the exception of state officials, diplomats and those with important business and humanitarian purposes, until the end of January next year.
Han added that Seoul is reducing the number of flights from China and all flights from the country will only have to land at South Korea’s main Incheon International Airport.
South Korea’s southernmost Jeju Island, which has its own international airport and separate entry visa regime, was a popular tourist destination for Chinese visitors before the pandemic.
A senior US health official this week said that Beijing has provided only limited information to the global database of Covid variants circulating in China, and that testing and reporting has been limited. Reports of new cases have decreased.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from an aggregated feed.)
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