The Korea Herald


No noticeable drop in foreigner arrivals despite mandatory quarantine: authorities

By Ock Hyun-ju

Published : April 8, 2020 - 15:53

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(Yonhap) (Yonhap)

South Korea did not see a noticeable change in the number of short-term visitors during the past week despite the introduction of a 14-day mandatory quarantine on arrivals, authorities said Wednesday.

Imported cases of the new coronavirus have become a major concern in the country despite the slowing infection rate, leading the government to make it mandatory for everyone arriving in Korea from abroad to self-quarantine for two weeks starting on April 1.

In the wake of calls for more drastic measures such as a border closure, the government has said that the two-week isolation will act as a virtual entry ban and prevent nonessential short-term visits by foreigners. 

The effect of the 14-day mandatory quarantine enforcement in reducing the number of short-term travelers is “not that noticeable,” Vice Health and Welfare Minister Kim Gang-lip said at a briefing Wednesday.

The authorities are reviewing whether to secure extra facilities to accommodate short-term travelers, he said.

For the past week, some 900 foreign nationals entered the country on short-term visas -- about 130 people a day -- and were placed under quarantine at the state-run facilities, according to the health authorities, adding that currently up to 1,600 people can be accommodated in the facilities.

Those who do not agree to the two-week quarantine are denied entry. About 100,000 won is charged daily for those staying in the facilities.

As of Wednesday, a total of 832 coronavirus cases in the country were imported from abroad, with 92.1 percent of them being Korean nationals.