March 06, 2023 12:49
China has scrapped COVID tests on arrival for travelers from Korea after Seoul stopped the requirement for visitors from China last week.
But all arrivals in China including Koreans still have to present a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours of their departure.
The two countries also agreed to increase flights to pre-pandemic levels, according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport here.
China slashed flights between the two countries from about 1,100 a week in 2019 to just 60 at the moment. Only 105,000 passengers took the flights in January this year, a mere 7.6 percent of the 1.38 million passengers three years ago.
Airlines hope to increase flights to more than 200 a week this month, beginning with flights from Incheon to Beijing, Qingdao, Shanghai and Yanji. That also includes regional airports here. On Feb. 28, Korea lifted the requirement for all flights from China to land at Incheon International Airport, so Air Busan resumed flights to Yanji on March 1, and Jin Air and T'way Air are set to start flights on the Jeju-Xian and Daegu-Yanji routes next week.
But it will take some time until flights return to pre-pandemic levels because airlines have to recruit staff after laying many people off over the past three years.
China still issues no tourist visas for foreign travelers.
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