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S. Korea begins to restrict visa issuance, flights from Pakistan, Bangladesh over virus


South Korea began to suspend visa issuance and non-scheduled flights to restrict entry from Pakistan and Bangladesh Tuesday in the face of a spike in new coronavirus cases imported from the two nations.

The government decided on Sunday to stop issuing new visas to nationals of Pakistan and Bangladesh, except for diplomatic and urgent business purposes. Holders of non-professional employment (E-9) visas will be banned from entering the country if they are from areas that lack facilities for a two-week self quarantine.

The government also decided to suspend the permission of non-regular flights linking South Korea and the two nations.

Novel coronavirus cases coming from Pakistan and Bangladesh have accounted for the largest portion of the recent imported cases in South Korea. Of the total 31 imported cases on Saturday, 16 and seven came from Pakistan and Bangladesh, respectively.

Since April 1, South Korea has imposed a mandatory two-week quarantine on all international arrivals.

The latest spike in imported cases put health authorities on high alert at a time when the country is struggling to fight continued rises in local infections, especially in the greater Seoul area.

South Korea reported 17 additional COVID-19 cases Monday, including 11 local infections, raising the total caseload to 12,438. (Yonhap)