Beginning next month, South Korea will no longer require visitors from China to undergo post-arrival COVID-19 testing; however, pre-departure testing will still be required, according to a senior South Korean official. This is the latest easing of restrictions put in place following China’s reopening.
After ending its severe zero-COVID policy late last year, South Korea set several restrictions on travelers from China. But, it has now eased those limits in light of an improvement in the COVID situation in its neighborhood.
Kim Sung-ho, a vice-ministerial official at the Ministry of Interior and Safety, during a meeting on the COVID response, stated that the positive rate among arrivals from China has decreased from 18.4% in the first week of January to 0.6% in the third week of February, thereby suggesting that quarantine restrictions may be further loosened.
As of March 1, South Korea will also permit planes from China to touch down at locations besides its primary Incheon International Airport, which has been serving as the country’s sole gateway since early January.
Passengers departing China must undergo mandatory PCR testing up until March 10 to monitor and assess the effects of the rule easing, according to Kim. Wang Wenbin, a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry, said Beijing was ready to consider reciprocal actions when the time was right.
Before Beijing eased comparable visa limits established in reaction to Seoul’s border restrictions, South Korea had resumed issuing short-term visas to travelers from China.
South Korea earlier this year had scrapped a face mask mandate for most indoor public places in a major step to loosen COVID-19 rules. Due to persistent worries about infection, however, several residents chose to continue donning covers.
With regard to China, the country reopened its boundaries two weeks ago after nearly three years of closed borders and stringent COVID-19 movement regulations, thus, allowing millions to tour the world over the Lunar New Year holidays.
The arrival of Chinese tourists again is being met with varied reactions in several nations.
Before the pandemic, the Chinese were the most frequent and expensive tourists to several Asian countries, but now that COVID-19 is ravaging their homeland, they are trying to enter other nations. There have been concerns that they may be carrying novel coronavirus strains that the rest of the world has managed to eradicate.
As a result, several nations have targeted visitors from China, forcing them to obtain negative COVID test results before flying, restricting the length of their short-term visas, or even refusing them admission. China has implemented its visa limitations in response to this unfair treatment, but only so far for Japanese and South Korean citizens.