South Korean businesspeople and their families arrive in Hanoi after flying from Seoul on special chartered flights in this photo provided by the Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on July 22, 2020. (Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI))
Vietnam will allow coronavirus quarantine exemptions to business travelers and their families from South Korea from the beginning of next year as part of efforts to shore up economic exchanges despite the pandemic, the foreign ministry said Friday.
The two countries reached the agreement when Seoul's Second Vice Foreign Minister Lee Tae-ho, visiting Vietnam, paid a courtesy call on Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh earlier in the day, the ministry said in a press release.
The measure will take effect on Jan. 1, 2021.
Under the fast-track entry system, business travelers and their families who are planning a trip to the Southeast Asian country for less than 14 days will be exempt from mandatory quarantine.
They are required to submit negative COVID-19 test results that were conducted within five days of their departure, and they need to follow strict quarantine guidelines set by the Vietnamese authorities during their stay. They also need to undergo virus tests upon arrival in Vietnam.
Seoul had been in talks with Hanoi to establish a system for simplified entry procedure to help businesspeople continue their work overseas.
Vietnam is a major trading partner for Korea, with the trading volume reaching $69.2 billion at the end of 2019. Since Hanoi took border control measures in March to stem the virus spread, about 18,000 businesspeople from South Korea have entered the country via special flights approved by the Vietnamese authorities.
In addition to Vietnam, South Korea has clinched fast-track entry agreements with China, the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Singapore and Japan. (Yonhap)