December 29, 2022 12:43
All travelers from China will probably have to undergo a rapid antigen test for COVID and submit a negative PCR test on arrival in Korea.
Health authorities meet Thursday to finalize precautions against a massive COVID surge in China.
Infections have been soaring since China eased lockdown as its zero-COVID policy failed and hundreds of millions remain unvaccinated.
Quoting data from China's National Health Commission, the Central News Agency of Taiwan reported that more than 200 million or 17.56 percent of the Chinese population were infected with COVID from Dec. 1 to 20. But Beijing has decided to lift overseas travel restrictions from Jan. 8, causing fears of new variants spreading across the world.
The problem is how to test all travelers from China. A PCR test gives accurate results but takes time and costs money. It is therefore more realistic to ask visitors to submit their own PCR test taken within 48 hours of arrival and subject them to a rapid antigen test.
Japan has already decided to test all visitors from China for COVID with rapid antigen test kits from Friday. Anyone who arrives in Japan directly from China or has visited China within seven days will have to get tested.
India also made sure that all travelers from China and Hong Kong get tested for COVID, and the U.S. requires a negative test certificate.
Seoul and Beijing are also discussing reducing flights between the two countries.
According to health authorities, only 19 travelers from China tested positive in November, accounting for a mere one percent of all COVID cases among overseas arrivals. But the number increased to 253 or 14.2 percent this month and 27.5 percent over the past week.
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