Unvaccinated foreign travellers to South Korea will no longer have to undergo mandatory seven-day quarantine starting June 8. By Manas Sen Gupta
The decision was announced by South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo during a pandemic response meeting on June 3.
Rules regarding tests to remain
“While there was a seven-day quarantine obligation for non-vaccinated foreign arrivals until now, such requirement will be eliminated from 8 June regardless of their vaccination status,” Prime Minister Han said.
Travellers coming to South Korea will, however, have to present a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test result before entry and take a PCR test within 72 hours of their arrival.
Restrictions on international flights to be lifted
The Prime Minister also said that aviation regulations imposed for international flights at Incheon International Airport will also be lifted from June 8.
The decision means that flights will be able to operate in a timely manner once the aviation restrictions are lifted. The restrictions, in place since April 2020, have led to a lack of availability of tickets as well as a rise in prices, the Prime Minister noted.
While the number of arrival flights per hour was 40 before the pandemic, it currently stands at 20. The country’s transport ministry expects that the lifting of flight restrictions will help raise the arrival flights per hour number back to the pre-pandemic level.
Declining COVID-19 cases behind decision
The decision to relax restrictions was taken by a government task force in the light of a decline in coronavirus cases. The Prime Minister noted that the country’s COVID-19 situation had stabilised.
A total of 12,542 new cases were confirmed by authorities in South Korea a day before the announcement of the decision. It was the lowest figure announced on a Friday in 19 weeks, according to local media.
The government started closing down most of the makeshift COVID-19 testing stations in the country from 1 June.
Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) confirmed 5,022 new cases, including 17 from overseas, on June 6. While it indicated a sharper decline in numbers, The Korea Herald reported that there were fewer tests over the weekend.
(This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Hong Kong)