immigration control efforts underway in Weihai Airport in China
More countries are imposing entry restrictions on travelers from South Korea amid global concern over the rapid spread of COVID-19.
The move comes despite doubts by experts on the efficacy and ethics of such travel bans.
Julie Sohn reports.
According to Seoul's foreign ministry website, a total of 42 countries have either slapped entry restrictions or tightened quarantine processes on travelers from South Korea.
This is an increase from a list of 30 countries recorded yesterday.
The newly-added nations include Mongolia, Fiji, the Philippines and the Seychelles, which imposed entry bans on South Korean nationals and visitors who have been in the Asian country or visited Daegu and Cheongdo in North Gyeongsang Province during the past two weeks.
Seven others, including India, French Polynesia, Belarus, Morocco and Paraguay, toughened their quarantine procedures and strengthened immigration methods.
Five provinces in China have also tightened quarantine procedures for international air travelers, with some restrictions applying to all passengers and some only to those coming from South Korea or Japan.
The move comes despite doubts raised by health experts on the effectiveness of travel restrictions at stemming the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Speaking to TBS eFM's "This Morning" program, Roojin Habibi, research fellow in global health law at York University said travel bans imposed by countries is excessive and troubling.
[Clip - Habibi]
"The travel restrictions that countries are imposing right now are excessive in light of the spread of this (virus) and the fact that it's now in every single continent of the world except for Antarctica. So, it is very troubling."
The United States also raised its travel warning for its Asian ally by one notch to Level 3, the second-highest on a four-tier scale, although it has not put any entry restrictions from travelers from South Korea at the moment.
U.S. President Donald Trump said now is not the right time to put additional travel restrictions to and from South Korea, Italy and other countries affected by COVID-19.
Julie Sohn, eFM News.■
<Photo: Yonhap News>
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