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Penalty likely to sextuple for foreign quarantine breakers


Amid mounting fears over a spike in coronavirus infections here, foreign nationals caught breaking their 14-day quarantine upon arrival are to be slapped with a 3 million won ($2,468.50) penalty, up sixfold from the previous amount, if a revised law proposed by the Justice Ministry is passed.

The strengthened measure would be applied under a revision to the Immigration Act, which the ministry is aiming to implement within the month.

First time quarantine breakers will face fines of 3 million won, while the figure jumps to 5 million won for those caught disregarding the safety guidance twice and 10 million won for third-time offenders, the ministry said.

“It is imperative that foreigners from overseas comply with self-quarantine to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and maintain the foundation of openness, as COVID-19 is expected to extend for a long period of time,” according to the Justice Ministry.

Explaining its decision to drastically increase the penalty, the ministry said the previous measures were not effective in motivating foreign nationals to self-isolate for two weeks.

Starting last month, those coming in from overseas are notified at immigration checkpoints about an administrative order imposing limitations on their activities.

A total of 18 people were ordered out of the country for violating self-quarantine or refusing to check in to isolation facilities in April.

By Kim Bo-gyung (