S. Korea imposes tough quarantine measures for all travelers from abroad

18, Mar. 2020

Photo by Portuguese Gravity on Unsplash
Photo by Portuguese Gravity on Unsplash

SEOUL, Kyodo - From March 19, all travelers from abroad will go through tightened quarantine measures when they enter South Korea due to a steady increase in the number of foreign patients. Health officials ruled out a complete entry ban despite a coronavirus pandemic that has led to global travel restrictions.

At airports, health officials will put all travelers, foreign or domestic, into fever checks. They should submit papers on health conditions and download a smartphone app for monitoring by local government officials for two weeks during their stay in South Korea.

"In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, it is time to thoroughly prevent an influx from abroad," Deputy Health and Welfare Minister Kim Kang-rip told a regular press briefing on Tuesday. The number of foreign patients has increased to 44, including 14 from China, 14 from other Asian countries and 16 from Europe.

In recent days, six South Koreans have been quarantined as patients following their overseas trips. Kim said a complete entry ban is not realistic because South Korea's economy relies heavily on external trade.