‘Manda­tory self-quar­an­tine a must for all int’l arrivals’

The Korea Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Bahk Eun-ji [email protected]­re­atimes.co.kr

All pas­sen­gers ar­riv­ing from over­seas should be placed un­der a manda­tory two-week self-quar­an­tine re­gard­less of their place of de­par­ture as Korea has seen the num­ber of “im­ported” coro­n­avirus in­fec­tions soar over the past week, ac­cord­ing to med­i­cal ex­perts, Thurs­day.

The govern­ment has al­ready im­ple­mented mea­sures for coro­n­avirus tests on all arrivals from Europe, and those from the United States who show symp­toms be­gin­ning Fri­day while it has kept travel re­stric­tions at min­i­mal lev­els.

The strength­ened mea­sures came as the coun­try has been ob­serv­ing an in­creas­ing num­ber of COVID-19 cases among peo­ple com­ing from abroad de­spite a grad­ual de­cline in do­mes­tic num­bers.

Doc­tors have strongly warned that all arrivals from over­seas should be un­der stricter mon­i­tor­ing and quar­an­tine mea­sures to con­tain any pos­si­bil­ity of a fur­ther spread of the virus.

“No coun­try in the world is safe from the coro­n­avirus. All pas­sen­gers from abroad, re­gard­less of their de­par­ture points and their symp­toms should self-quar­an­tine for two weeks,” said Eom Jung-sik, a pro­fes­sor at Gil Med­i­cal Cen­ter.

Ac­cord­ing to the Korea Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion (KCDC), 104 new in­fec­tions were con­firmed Wed­nes­day, bring­ing the na­tion’s to­tal to 9,241. Among them, 39, or 37.5 per­cent, were con­sid­ered to be im­ported in­fec­tions.

Daegu and North Gyeongsang Prov­ince, the na­tion’s two worst-af­fected regions, re­ported 26 and 12 new cases, re­spec­tively. Seoul, In­cheon and Gyeonggi Prov­ince, which sur­rounds the cap­i­tal, saw their in­fec­tions rise by 28 to 804, Wed­nes­day.

The KCDC con­firmed one more death from the virus Thurs­day, rais­ing the toll to 132.

The au­thor­i­ties said for­eign­ers who en­ter the coun­try must down­load a self-check mo­bile ap­pli­ca­tion to reg­u­larly re­port on the state of their health online. If a for­eigner does not down­load the app, they will not be al­lowed to en­ter the coun­try, the KCDC said.

In ad­di­tion, for­eign­ers who do not fol­low the self-quar­an­tine rule without giv­ing proper cause will be im­me­di­ately de­ported.

“The quar­an­tine mea­sure is a le­gal en­force­ment. For­eign­ers who leave their quar­an­tine place without no­ti­fi­ca­tion will im­me­di­ately be de­ported,” said Prime Min­is­ter Chung Sye-kyun dur­ing a press brief­ing at the Govern­ment Com­plex in Seoul.

Chung said the coun­try is in an ur­gent sit­u­a­tion and must im­ple­ment stricter quar­an­tine mea­sures as part of a zero-tol­er­ance pol­icy. It will be im­ple­mented for both Kore­ans and for­eign­ers who leave their home dur­ing a self-quar­an­tine pe­riod, and po­lice of­fi­cers will be im­me­di­ately dis­patched to their lo­ca­tion.

Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chul

A pas­sen­ger from Frank­furt, Germany, is tested for the coro­n­avirus at a “walk-thru” sta­tion in In­cheon In­ter­na­tional Air­port, Thurs­day. The govern­ment has im­ple­mented mea­sures to test all pas­sen­gers ar­riv­ing from Europe for the virus.

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