91 countries, regions restricting entry of people from S. Korea over coronavirus fears

SEOUL: A total of 91 countries and regions were planning or imposing entry bans or quarantine procedures on visitors from South Korea on Tuesday, up eight from a day earlier, despite Seoul's push to curb what it calls excessively restrictive measures.

As of 8:00 p.m., 37 countries and regions plan to ban or were barring the entry of travelers who have visited Korea in the past two weeks, while 54 countries and regions, including China, prepared or were carrying out quarantine programs or recommendations for them, according to the foreign ministry.

The number of COVID 19 infections in South Korea has risen to 5,186, with 31 deaths, as the country accelerates what it terms a "transparent and open" testing process in its all out campaign to stem the virus.

On Tuesday, the Pacific island country of Nauru banned the entry of foreigners who have visited South Korea, China, Italy and other virus hit regions in the past three weeks.

Nepal announced a plan to stop issuing arrival visas for foreigners from South Korea and other countries, starting Tuesday next week.

On Tuesday, the Maldives started to ban the entry of people who have visited South Korea's southeastern city of Daegu and adjacent regions, the site of most of the country's infections. But it decided not to impose the entry ban on those from Seoul or the surrounding Gyeonggi Province.

India, which already suspended its visa on arrival program, also decided to invalidate all visas issued to South Koreans who have not yet arrived in the country starting Wednesday.

The number of Chinese provinces and cities that have instituted quarantine programs for people from Korea came to 14.

Britain now recommends self quarantine for people who have traveled to most of South Korea in the last two weeks, should they have mild symptoms of the virus. Earlier, the country recommended self quarantine only for visitors from Daegu and the nearby county of Cheongdo.

Moscow currently requires a 14 day self quarantine for both Russians and foreigners who have arrived in the capital aboard flights from South Korea. The country's far eastern island of Sakhalin has also enforced quarantine measures for those from Korea and other virus affected countries.

The United States has not yet implemented entry restrictions. But passengers on flights bound for the U.S. are to undergo temperature checks before boarding.

Singapore also decided to ban the entry of all foreigners who have visited South Korea in the preceding two weeks starting Thursday. The country earlier applied the regulation on those from Daegu and Cheongdo.

Meanwhile, the Philippines, which earlier decided to ban its people from visiting South Korea, decided to lift the restriction, except for Daegu and surrounding North Gyeongsang Province, according to its Department of Foreign Affairs.

The entry ban on people who have visited the area, however, is still in effect, it added.

Amid the rising number of countries imposing entry bans against South Koreans, Foreign Minister Kang Kyung hwa spoke by phone with her counterparts from India, Iraq, and El Salvador, requesting them to lift the restrictions

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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