Korea Bars Foreigners Without Coronavirus 'Passports'

  • By Heo Sang-woo

    July 13, 2020 12:38

    Health authorities have decided to bar visiting foreigners unless they can show negative test results for COVID-19 as cases are increasing among foreign arrivals.

    The number of infected foreign arrivals has jumped to 20 on average a day over the last two weeks, compared to just six in May.

    From Monday, visitors from high-risk countries must present negative test certificates no older than 48 hours and undergo another test here to be allowed to enter the country. They also have to be tested again at their own country's airport before they board the plane to Korea.

    The decision came as several visitors from Kazakhstan and Bangladesh on short-term visas to work on farms tested positive. 

    Staff give directions to people arriving from abroad at Incheon International Airport on July 8. /Yonhap

    The government did not publicly name the high-risk countries for fear of diplomatic rifts. Instead, notifications are being made through overseas missions. Yoon Tae-ho at the Ministry of Health and Welfare said, "We want to bolster quarantine to block carriers from overseas."

    But Kazakhstan, China and other Asian countries are likely to be on the list, according to sources.

    The measures do not apply to Korean nationals who return from those countries.

    The risk assessment, which started late last month, has already resulted in fewer flights and visa issuances for those countries. Last Thursday, the government ordered flights coming in from high-risk countries to fill only 60 percent of seats and limited re-entry visas. 

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