March 12, 2020 12:54
The government stepped up quarantine screening of all Korean and foreign travelers from Italy and Iran, where the largest numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths outside China have occurred.
In a press briefing on Wednesday afternoon, a spokesman for the coronavirus taskforce said the closer checks started that morning to minimize further transmission from major coronavirus hotbeds.
All travelers from these areas must fill in question forms about their health and undergo strict screening including temperature checks," he added.
The government added Italy and Iran to a list of infection risk areas that already covers the Chinese mainland since Feb. 4 and Hong Kong and Macau since Feb. 12. Though Japan is not on the list, travelers from the island country must also undergo strict quarantine checks since Monday.
According to the taskforce, new confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Italy and Iran spiked from about 2,000 on March 4 to 9,172 and 7,161 by Tuesday. As of Tuesday, 463 and 237 patients had died in Italy and Iran, the most after China.
According to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some 1,500 travelers arrived from Italy last week but none from Iran.
Meanwhile, 116 countries are either banning or restricting travelers from Korea, as the Bahamas, Grenada, Haiti and Serbia followed suit on Wednesday. Some 49 countries imposed entry ban on Koreans and 67 countries restricted entry.
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