All international arrivals to South Korea must undergo 10-day quarantine

A man wearing a mask stands at Incheon International Airport in Incheon, South Korea, on Tuesday. (Reuters photo)

SEOUL: From Friday, all arrivals to South Korea regardless of their nationality have to undergo self-quarantine for 10 days regardless of their vaccination status as Seoul grapples to contain further spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 upon confirming first cases.

The Central Disease Control Headquarters convened a meeting on Wednesday after the country confirmed its first Omicron variant infection case to come up with measures to block the virus from entering South Korea, according to Pulse.

All people arriving in South Korea from Friday to Dec 16 must be isolated for 10 days and get a PCR test three times, once before arrival, another one a day after arrival and a third one before the end of quarantine.

The country has also added Nigeria to a list of high-risk countries. Starting Friday, short-term foreign visitors to South Korea from Nigeria are not allowed to enter the country. Koreans and long-term visitors must go through a 10-day self-quarantine at a government-designated temporary facility and take three PCR tests.

In addition, the government has decided to stop operating direct flights to and from Ethiopia for two weeks, the country’s only direct flight in the African region. The government will allocate emergency flights to help Korean nationals living in the country return to South Korea safely.

The government said it is seeking to introduce Covid-19 oral treatment by the end of the year as the infection situation is getting worse with the number of daily infection tally surpassing 5,000 for the first time on Wednesday and Omicron fears spreading.

Sohn Young-rae, a spokesman for the Ministry of Health and Welfare, said on Thursday that the government is in talks with pharmaceutical companies to bring in oral antiviral pills within the year.

Health authorities said early November that it planned to secure oral drugs for 404,000 people and introduce the treatment from February next year in stages.

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