20,000 Chinese Students Came to Korea Since Coronavirus Broke out

  • By Kwak Soo-keun

    February 17, 2020 13:19

    A total of 19,022 Chinese students entered Korea over the last two-and-a-half months since coronavirus broke out in Wuhan, China.

    The Education Ministry said Sunday that the students entered Korea from December of 2019 until Feb. 14 of this year. Considering that there were altogether 71,067 Chinese students in Korea as of April of last year, some 27 percent visited their homes in China recently and returned.

    The ministry is dividing the returning students into three groups -- just arrived, 14 days after arrival and 14 additional days. They will undergo special screening upon arrival and be prevented from attending their college until two weeks after arrival. They will also remain barred from cafeterias and libraries for fear of spreading the infection.

    If they refuse to log on to an inspection app on their smartphones on arrival, health authorities will launch a probe, and university staff will check on them at least once a day.

    An Incheon National University staffer films a Chinese student loading luggage into a van after arriving at Incheon International Airport on Sunday. /Yonhap

    Chinese students whose visa has been delayed or whose entry dates and residential addresses here have not been confirmed will be advised to take this semester off. Instead they will be offered online classes.

    The ministry plans to distribute a set of guidelines to universities on how to manage foreign students, including those who are barred from school for now, as well as monitoring dormitories and other facilities.

    Skeptics questioned the effectiveness of the measures. One professor at a university in Seoul said, "The government has vowed to take steps to minimize contact between Chinese students and the public, but the effectiveness will only go so far, as long as there is no one-on-one monitoring."

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