South Korea

South Korea latest to impose travel restrictions on Chinese tourists


Chinese travelers must undergo a PCR test within the first day of arrival in South Korea. (document)

Seoul:

South Korea on Friday took steps to restrict travelers from mainland China, imposing visa restrictions, testing requirements and limiting flights as Beijing grapples with a surge in Covid infections.

Seoul’s decision came after countries including Italy, Japan, India and the United States announced their own measures, which they said were to avoid importing the new coronavirus variant from China.

“Until next February, people entering (South Korea) from China will be required to undergo Covid tests before and after arrival,” Seoul Prime Minister Han Duck-soo said on Friday.

Passengers from China must provide a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours before boarding a flight to South Korea, or a negative antigen test taken within 24 hours before departure.

They will also need to undergo a PCR test on the first day of arrival, Han said.

“As the Covid-19 situation in China worsens, Seoul “will inevitably step up some epidemic prevention measures to prevent the spread of the virus in our country,” Han added.

Hospitals in China have been overwhelmed by a surge in cases after Beijing began easing hard-line controls that have damaged the economy and sparked protests across the country.

A growing number of countries have imposed restrictions on tourists from China after Beijing’s decision to end mandatory entry quarantine prompted many countries to book travel plans.

Since Beijing pulled up the drawbridge in March 2020, Chinese citizens have been largely confined to their own country.

South Korea will also limit the issuance of short-term visas to Chinese nationals, excluding public officials, diplomats and those with important humanitarian and commercial purposes, until the end of January next year.

Han added that Seoul is scaling back the number of flights from China, and all flights from China can now only land at South Korea’s main Incheon International Airport.

South Korea’s southernmost island of Jeju, which has its own international airport and separate visa entry system, was a popular destination for Chinese tourists before the pandemic.

A senior U.S. health official said this week that Beijing has provided only limited information to global databases about the new coronavirus variants circulating in China, and that its detection and reporting of new cases has declined.

(Aside from the title, this story is unedited by NDTV staff and published via a syndicated feed.)



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