South Korea rode out the pandemic with strict restrictions on visitors, but in a sign that the pandemic's urgency is easing, will now let some vaccinated visitors bypass quarantines. The rule exemption applies to visitors vaccinated abroad, although they still must be tested on arriving in the country.
South Korea will exempt some travelers who have received their COVID-19 vaccine shots overseas from its mandatory two-week quarantine starting July 1, health authorities said on Sunday.
As of May 5, the quarantine exemption was only applicable to people fully vaccinated in South Korea.
The new policy will apply only to certain people, such as citizens and foreign residents, as well as those coming to visit family, or for the purpose of business, academics or public interest, said Son Young-rae, an official with the Central Disaster Management Headquarters.
Exempt travelers will need to fill out an application, and still need to be tested before and after arriving in South Korea. Some travelers from countries with major outbreaks or variants will not be allowed to skip the quarantine, he added.
South Korea reported 452 more cases as of midnight on Saturday, bringing total infections to 147,874, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.
The death toll in the country stands at 1,985.
More than 11.8 million people – 23% of the country’s population – have received at least one dose of a vaccine, according to the KDCA.
(Reporting by Josh Smith; Editing by Himani Sarkar)
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Photo credit: South Korea is relaxing some of the world's strictest Covid-19 entry restrictions and will now allow visitors who were vaccinated abroad to enter the country and bypass quarantine. Tomas del Coro / Flickr