Quarantine officials guide foreign arrivals at Terminal 1 of Incheon International Airport, Tuesday. Yonhap
By Jun Ji-hye
Russia, Uzbekistan and eight other countries have been newly designated by the Korean government as nations where highly contagious variants of the coronavirus are spreading quickly, thus arrivals from those countries will no longer be exempted from the 14-day mandatory self-isolation next month, even if they have been fully vaccinated.
On Friday, the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters announced its updated list of 26 countries where virus variants are prevalent, and arrivals from these countries will no longer be eligible for the self-quarantine exemption starting August.
The headquarters maintained 16 countries which had already been included in the list. They are South Africa, Malawi, Mozambique, Bangladesh, Botswana, Brazil, Suriname, the United Arab Emirates, Eswatini, Uruguay, India, Indonesia, Zimbabwe, Chile, Paraguay and the Philippines.
The 10 newly added countries are Nepal, Russia, Lebanon, Malaysia, Vietnam, Haiti, Angola, Uzbekistan, Kuwait, and Trinidad and Tobago.
The government has exempted people from mandatory isolation following their arrival from overseas countries, if they have been fully vaccinated in Korea and at least two weeks have passed since their final vaccination.
The government has also been exempting foreign arrivals from mandatory isolation since July 1 if they have been fully vaccinated in other countries and are visiting Korea for purposes such as important business, scholarly activities, government affairs and family visits.
But arrivals from the 26 countries on the list must go through mandatory isolation for 14 days, even if they have been fully vaccinated regardless of where they were vaccinated.
“We are taking this measure amid mounting concerns over possible inflow of virus variants from overseas countries, at a time when new COVID-19 cases have been soaring here,” an official from the headquarters said.