92 countries, territories restricting entry from S. Korea over coronavirus concerns

SEOUL: A total of 92 countries and territories were imposing entry restrictions or stricter quarantine procedures on people from coronavirus hit South Korea on Wednesday, with Qatar being the latest to slap an entry ban.

As of 9 a.m., 38 countries and territories barred the entry of travelers who have visited Korea in at least the past two weeks, according to the foreign ministry website.

Qatar began to enforce an entry ban starting Monday on foreigners with a record of visits to South Korea, China, Iran, Italy or Egypt over the past month. Foreigners who have residential permits in the Middle Eastern country will face a 14 day quarantine at a designated facility.

Including 14 provinces in China, 23 countries and regions were imposing a mandatory 14 day quarantine for travelers from Korea. Burundi in east central Africa was conducting health screenings for all passengers and putting those showing symptoms into a two week isolation at a designated hospital.

Venezuela has been moved to the list of those requiring foreigners from Korea, China, Japan and Singapore to be quarantined at a facility if they are suspected of infection. The South American nation had been carrying out temperature checks upon arrival and monitoring thereafter.

That puts the number of countries with less strict quarantine procedures or quarantine recommendations at 31, including Nepal, which has announced a halt to issuing arrival visas for foreigners from virus affected countries starting next Tuesday.

Seoul has been ramping up diplomatic efforts to persuade foreign governments to refrain from implementing excessive entry restrictions. Foreign Minister Kang Kyung wha spoke by phone with her counterparts from India, Iraq, Indonesia and El Salvador on Tuesday and called for easing of the measures.

The United States has not yet implemented entry restrictions.

But U.S. President Donald Trump said Tuesday (U.S. time) that Washington is looking closely at South Korea over the coronavirus outbreak and will decide whether to impose travel restrictions on its Asian ally "at the right time."

All South Korean passengers on flights bound for the U.S. currently undergo temperature checks before boarding.

South Korea added 516 new cases of the new coronavirus on Tuesday, with the total number of infections standing at 5,328 and 33 deaths

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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