Travelers to U.S. Need COVID 'Passports'

  • By Choi Eun-kyung

    January 14, 2021 09:46

    The U.S. and several other countries now require negative coronavirus test certificates from foreigners as the pandemic has resurged during the winter.

    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday that arrivals by air must present negative COVID-19 test certificates from Jan. 26 issued within 72 hours of their departure.

    China already requires them since Dec. 1, issued within just 48 hours of their departure. Canada, the U.K. and Ghana also require test certificates issued within 72 hours of their departure, and the UAE within 92 hours.

    A traveler (center) is informed of quarantine regulations at Incheon International Airport on Tuesday. /Newsis

    The Foreign Ministry here urged travelers to check the websites of foreign embassies until right before departure because the requirements are liable to change frequently.

    There is so far no website with a full list of hospitals here that issue certificates in English. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency's website provides a list of hospitals and test facilities, but would-be travelers have to call them individually to see if they issue the certificates in English.

    One test center at Incheon International Airport issues them in English, but the procedure takes almost half a day and if there is a backlog it could exceed the time limit.

    The Chinese Embassy provides a list of certain Korean hospitals that issue test certificates for travelers to China and does not accept anything else.

    Many hospitals do not accept bookings and do not open on holidays. Tests cost between W100,000 and W170,000 (US$1=W1,097). At Incheon the price is W125,150.

    Meanwhile, the Japanese government on Wednesday decided to ban all foreigners until Feb. 7, including the fast track for businesspeople. Exceptions can be made for special cases like funerals and childbirth.

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