About 50 employees of S. Korean overseas missions test positive for COVID-19

SEOUL About 50 employees of South Korea’s overseas diplomatic missions, including six diplomats, have tested positive for the new coronavirus, a source said Thursday.
Many of the employees are locally hired administrative staff, the source said. Of the six diplomats, two were infected in the process of supporting the return home of South Korean citizens.
Since the virus started to spread across the world early this year, South Korean embassies have been consumed with the often risky task of ensuring the safety of Korean residents and travelers, and helping them return home safely.
They have so far helped some 47,000 citizens in 119 countries return home through various means, such as chartering flights or using flights arranged by governments of partner countries, according to a foreign ministry official.
The government has also helped a total of 18,166 South Korean businesspeople secure exceptions to COVID-19-driven entry restrictions by 18 countries, as it has stressed essential business trips should be allowed to minimize the economic fallout of the pandemic.
As of Wednesday, the number of overseas citizens infected with the virus stood at 577, a sharp increase from 107 recorded in early May, the official said, citing the ministry’s estimate.
The citizens include 100 in the Asia-Pacific; 230 in North, Central and South America; 80 in Europe; 120 in the Middle East; and 23 in Africa.
“As there are some citizens who are reluctant to report their infection cases, we expect that the actual number would be higher than the current figure,” the official told reporters on condition of anonymity.
The government has also helped a total of 18,166 South Korean businesspeople secure exceptions to COVID-19-driven entry restrictions by 18 countries, as it has stressed essential business trips should be allowed to minimize the economic fallout of the pandemic.
Currently, 92 countries and territories enforce entry bans against Koreans, the ministry said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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