SEOUL: South Korea said on Friday it will impose mandatory Covid-19 tests on travellers from China, joining the US, Japan, and other countries in taking new border measures after Beijing’s decision to lift stringent zero-Covid policies.
South Korea will also restrict the issuing of short-term visas for Chinese nationals until the end of next month and temporarily halt increasing flights from China while using Incheon International Airport as the only gateway for any flights from the neighbouring country, Prime Minister Han Duck-soo said.
Effective Jan 5, travellers from China will be required to submit a negative result from a PCR test no more than 48 hours or a rapid antigen test taken within 24 hours before departure, and undergo another PCR test upon arrival starting Jan 2, officials said.
“We need to urgently prepare for any domestic ripple effects following China’s easing of quarantine rules,” Han said.
“We will prepare to take stronger measures in case the situation gets worse, if we see a rapid increase of infections from new arrivals or the appearance of new variants.”
China this month began dismantling the world’s strictest Covid-19 regime of lockdowns and extensive testing in an abrupt change of policy, prompting countries to impose or consider imposing curbs on travellers from China amid a surge in cases there.
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