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Some 400 Koreans return from Israel via Israeli evacuation flights

Some 400 Koreans returned from Israel on Tuesday via chartered planes arranged by the Israeli government after COVID-19 infections were confirmed among two earlier groups of tourists after their return home.

The first batch of some 220 Koreans arrived at Incheon International Airport Tuesday morning, followed by 196 Koreans on board Israeli government-sponsored chartered flights offered to Korean nationals who wish to return home, the Korean Embassy in Israel said.

“We plan to operate additional flights to support Korean tourists to return home and make sure they do not encounter any inconvenience,” South Korea’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said.
 
A group of Korean tourists, flown back home from Israel on a chartered flight arranged by the Israeli government, are seen at the Incheon Airport, west of Seoul, Tuesday morning. (Yonhap)
A group of Korean tourists, flown back home from Israel on a chartered flight arranged by the Israeli government, are seen at the Incheon Airport, west of Seoul, Tuesday morning. (Yonhap)

Heightened concern about the virus, in some cases, has sparked resistance of Koreans, with some Korean tourists reportedly being refused accommodation.

Of 39 Korean Roman Catholic tourists who had visited Israel earlier this month for pilgrimage, 31 tested positive to the deadly virus upon arrival.

In the wake of COVID-19 confirmed in Korean tourists coupled with the rising number of cases here, Israel refused entry to some 130 Koreans over the weekend and has imposed an entry ban on travelers that have been to Korea or Japan.

The number of countries that have blocked Koreans or travelers who have visited Korea totals 6, including Bahrain and Jordan, as well as Hong Kong, while 14 have toughened airport quarantine measures. 

By Kim Bo-gyung (lisakim425@heraldcorp.com)
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