quarantine officials disinfecting all surfaces
Starting Sunday, South Korea will test all passengers coming from Europe for COVID-19 in an effort to prevent the virus from re-entering the country.
The new measure also requires them to self-isolate for two weeks, while the government will provide financial support for the mandatory quarantine, regardless of their nationality.
Julie Sohn has more.
The central disaster and safety countermeasures headquarters said Friday that travelers from European nations with symptoms will be tested immediately upon arrival, while those without symptoms will undergo testing at state-designated facilities.
Long-term visitors will be required to go into self-quarantine at home or at a government facility for two weeks, even if they test negative for COVID-19.
The Korean government will pay the cost of their quarantine -- ranging from 455,000 won to 1.23 million won depending on the number of people in a household, while a foreigner will be paid the same amount of a one-person household.
For those who arrive in South Korea for a short-term stay and test negative for the virus, health authorities will check his or her health condition on a daily basis by telephone.
If a person violates the quarantine rules, they will be subject to punishment under South Korean law, regardless of their nationality, facing a fine of up to 3 million won.
The health authorities are also considering expanding such measures to passengers from the United States and other Asian countries.
Head of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Jeong Eun-kyeong renewed calls for people to delay or cancel non-essential overseas travel, pointing out that a high rate of infections has been reported among people who recently arrived from Europe.
[clip - Jeong]
"After examining those who entered from Europe with fever and other symptoms, around 5 percent tested positive for the virus which is a very high rate."
South Korea has already strengthened screening for all passengers arriving from abroad.
However, health authorities strengthened the measures as a growing number of people who recently traveled overseas have tested positive for the virus, many from Europe.
The number of imported COVID-19 cases rose to 17 after one traveler was detected with the virus during entry screening procedures.
Julie Sohn, eFM News.■
<Photo: Yonhap News>
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