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Holiday travelers urged to take precautions against COVID-19

Tourist hot spots up quarantine measures ahead of influx of visitors

People arrive at the Jeju International Airport on Wednesday. (Yonhap)
People arrive at the Jeju International Airport on Wednesday. (Yonhap)

The government on Wednesday called for caution during the six-day holiday that starts Thursday, while local governments rolled out strengthened regulations.

The holiday period begins with Buddha’s Birthday, which falls April 30 this year, and ends with Children’s Day on May 5.

According to a survey, nearly 40 percent of South Koreans have travel plans, with Gangwon Province and Jeju Island likely to see a major influx of tourists.

While urging the public to refrain from traveling or holding gatherings until May 5, the government introduced guidelines for conduct during the holiday period.

The guidelines, which include measures such as washing hands before boarding vehicles and keeping a 2-meter distance from others, will be published on related government organizations’ websites.

In anticipation of the large numbers of tourists, the governments of Gangwon Province and Jeju Island will introduce strengthened measures Thursday.

According to government estimates, about 180,000 people are expected to visit Jeju during the six-day period. While the figure is less than half that recorded in the same period last year, the health authorities are on high alert over concerns that the spike in movement could work against quarantine efforts.

In Gangwon Province, hotels and other hospitality facilities have reported a 97 percent booking rate, leading authorities to estimate that the region could see as many as 90 percent of the usual number of visitors this year.

The Jeju government will require anyone entering the island with a temperature higher than 37.3 degrees Celsius to be tested for COVID-19. Access to indoor tourist attractions will be denied to anyone not wearing a mask, and those renting vehicles will be required to sign a document saying they will abide by quarantine measures.

In Gangwon Province, local governments will be operating thermal imaging cameras at bus terminals, train stations and highway rest stops. Information desks will be set up at major tourist attractions to check temperatures, and those showing symptoms of COVID-19 will be directed to the local public health office.

By Choi He-suk (