PM says S. Korea will push to charge foreigners for COVID-19 treatment
SEOUL, South Korea will push to revise the law to require foreign coronavirus patients to cover the costs of their treatment, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said Sunday, amid a spike in the number of new infections among foreigners arriving from abroad.
Chung made the remark during a pan-governmental COVID-19 meeting, noting that the rapidly increasing number of foreign patients among imported cases could strain the country’s medical system.
“We will make foreign patients pay the whole or part of the cost for their hospitalization, but under the principle of reciprocity considering diplomatic relations,” Chung said at the government complex in Seoul.
Under the current law, in-hospital care and treatment costs for confirmed patients are covered by the government regardless of nationality. The health ministry will be in charge of revising related regulations.
Chung’s remark came one day after South Korea’s new virus cases surged to an almost four-month high of 113, of which 34 were reported from sailors on a Russia-flagged fishing vessel docked in the southeastern port city of Busan. Two more Russians were confirmed with the virus Sunday.
The prime minister ordered tightened quarantine procedures at ports, expressing concerns over possible spread of the virus to local communities due to the cluster infection reported on the Russian ship.
On Sunday, South Korea reported 58 additional cases of the new virus, bringing the total caseload to 14,150.
Source: Yonhap News Agency