A foreign worker in Chungju, North Chungcheong Province, gets tested for the coronavirus. (Photo: Yonhap News)
All foreign workers in Gyeonggi Province have been ordered to get tested for COVID-19 as part of local efforts to cope with a recent spike in infections in foreigner-dense areas and workplaces.
The administrative order was issued Monday by the nation's most populous province and delivered to about 85,000 migrant workers via their employers.
They are required to take the virus test by March 22, according to officials.
Gyeonggi Province Vice Governor Lee Yong-chul said in an online briefing that the pre-emptive move is "aimed at keeping coronavirus clusters tied to foreigner-dense workplaces from spreading to nearby communities."
He stressed that all other foreigners staying illegally in the province will not be disadvantaged in any way if they comply with the testing order and any related treatment.
Those who were tested for the virus after February 15 are not affected.
Anyone in the country can get tested for COVID-19 at temporary testing stations in their neighborhoods free of charge.
Violators of Gyeonggi's latest order could face a fine of up to 3 million won, and may be held responsible for coronavirus transmissions and related costs.
More than 1,700 foreign nationals have tested positive for COVID-19 this year, with Gyeonggi Province accounting for 47 percent, followed by Seoul at 28 percent.
Earlier, the Ministry of Justice announced a temporary suspension of crackdowns on illegal stayers to help minimize loopholes in South Korea's antivirus fight, allowing all foreigners to get tested for free without disclosing their identities.
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