June 10, 2021 11:57
Hopes are rising that some overseas holidays may become possible after the government said it will open a travel bubble for vaccinated people with several other countries in the region.
"Starting in July, the government plans to allow group travel for people who have completed their full vaccination regimen to countries that have a stable handle on the pandemic," Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum told reporters Wednesday.
At the moment Guam, Saipan, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand are being considered, although they currently impose one to three weeks' quarantine on all arrivals from overseas.
But the prospects are severely limited. Only people who have been fully vaccinated at least two weeks before departure will benefit, and only tour groups that make their bookings through travel agencies will be allowed out.
That means travelers will have to follow a rigid sightseeing regime imposed by the organizer without straying from the herd.
Also, even vaccinated travelers must test negative for COVID-19 within three days before departure date and have yet another test on arrival. The prospect of greater liberalization if more countries join the bubble looks distant.
By the end of June only 5.54 million Koreans or 10.5 percent of the population are expected to be vaccinated.
Meanwhile, the daily tally of new coronavirus infections stood at 611 as of Thursday morning, bringing the cumulative total to 146,303.
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com