109 countries, territories restricting entry from S. Korea over coronavirus fears
SEOUL, A total of 109 countries and territories were imposing entry bans or tougher quarantine procedures for people from South Korea over coronavirus concerns Tuesday, up by three from the previous day, the foreign ministry said.
As of 2 p.m., Norway, Slovakia and Rwanda have joined the list of countries and territories imposing stricter immigration controls and requiring or recommending self-quarantine, raising the tally to 49, according to the ministry website.
Norway recommends a 14-day self-isolation for people from Korea, Iran, northern Italy and a few others regardless of whether they show symptoms. Slovakia requires a two-week home quarantine for its citizens and foreigners arriving from four countries including Korea, with those people subjected to a penalty in case of an infraction.
Rwanda began to conduct health checks on people upon arriving from Korea and other virus-hit countries and to impose 14-day home quarantine and monitoring even if they test negative.
Gabon was moved to the 39 countries and territories barring the entry of foreigners who have visited South Korea, China, Japan and other virus-hit countries. The African coastal nation had imposed a 14-day quarantine for foreigners since late February.
Diplomats or businesspeople may be permitted to enter but only after being cleared by undergoing extra processes such as medical checks or prior notifications.
The number of countries and territories slapping entry bans for parts of Korea where the bulk of COVID-19 outbreaks have occurred -- primarily Daegu city and North Gyeongsang Province -- remained unchanged at six, including Japan.
Croatia has toughened quarantine procedures for travelers with a record of visits to the major epicenters of the virus outbreaks in the past two weeks, including Korea's Daegu city and Cheongdo County, Hubei province in China and parts of Italy. They will be quarantined in facilities for 14 days.
If the travelers, including its own citizens, had arrived from other parts of the virus-affected countries, or Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore, they will face a home quarantine.
That puts the number of countries and territories implementing strict quarantine programs for South Korea at 15, including 21 Chinese provinces. China has added the north-central province of Gansu and the province of Guizhou in the southwest to the list.
Foreign ministry officials said South Korea is in consultations with some 20 countries to explore ways to allow at least businesspeople with no signs of infection to fly in to do business in those countries.
The countries include China, Vietnam, Indonesia and India, where Korean companies have been trying to expand footholds with production lines, massive direct investment schemes and other operations.
Starting Tuesday, all passengers from South Korea arriving at airports in Beijing and Shanghai are transported by vehicles prepared by local governments from the airports to their homes or hotels for a two-week quarantine, according to airline officials.
People from Italy, Iran and Japan are also transported from the airports to their homes or hotels for 14 days of quarantine, they said.
As of early Tuesday, a total of 1,668 Koreans were being quarantined around the world, including 1,234 people in China, with 397 others in Vietnam, the foreign ministry said.
South Korea added 131 new cases of coronavirus infections Monday, bringing the total to 7,513, with 54 deaths.
Source: Yonhap News Agency