Photo: Yonhap News
The South Korean government will begin obligating foreign coronavirus patients to pay the full bill for medical services they receive in the country if they are found to have violated quarantine rules.
Vice Health Minister Kim Gang-lip announced the new measure on Friday during a press conference, explaining that it will start Monday and be applied to foreigners who break self-quarantine rules or submit fabricated polymerase chain reaction test results.
Foreigners enrolled in South Korea's public health care insurance system and those who become infected here will still be eligible for state support.
The government has been cautious about changing its free-of-charge treatment policy due to diplomatic issues and overall efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Kim said from August 24, the government will charge foreigners different amounts for the cost of COVID-19 medical services, depending on their nationality and how partner countries charge Korean nationals.
On Friday, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 18 new coronavirus cases brought in from abroad, raising the total imported caseload to 2,618.
So far, South Korean nationals have accounted for 65.4 percent of the imported infections and foreigners 34.6 percent.
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