South Korea

South Korea removes post-travel quarantines for unvaccinated

South Korea removes post-travel quarantines for unvaccinated

From Wednesday, incoming travelers to South Korea will not be required to quarantine. | Yonhap News Agency via The Korea Herald/AsiaNews

SEOUL — Starting Wednesday, all air travelers arriving in South Korea will not need to quarantine, regardless of their vaccination status. Restrictions on the number of international flights using this airport have also been lifted.

Until the previous day, those who had not been fully vaccinated – that is, 180 days or less since receiving the second vaccine – had to quarantine for the full period upon arrival, in addition to pre-departure testing 7 days. The requirement that travelers must submit test results before departure and upon arrival, regardless of whether they are vaccinated or not, remains in effect.

The lifting of quarantines for travellers is part of a post-Micron response plan announced by the government’s COVID-19 headquarters in April. The government will announce next week whether it will continue to require people with active infections to quarantine for seven days.

Restrictions related to COVID-19 have been lifted as monkeypox cases have risen globally. At least 27 monkeypox-free countries have reported monkeypox outbreaks, according to the World Health Organization’s latest bulletin.

On the same day, South Korea designated monkeypox as the second-highest threat level infectious disease in its legal framework. This means that people who discover monkeypox will be legally responsible for isolating the disease and reporting it to public health authorities.

In a news conference Wednesday morning, Son Young-rae, a spokesman for the Ministry of Health and Welfare, said that based on currently available information, monkeypox “does not appear to warrant the same level of emergency response to COVID-19 in the country.”

The Ministry of Health said it was working to introduce the latest generation of smallpox vaccines, which are also believed to protect against monkeypox. South Korea’s 35 million doses of smallpox vaccine were from local brands approved for use in South Korea in 2008.

Son said departments and authorities at the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have yet to agree on implementing post-travel quarantines to prevent the spread of monkeypox.

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