South Korea has been forced to reintroduce travel quarantine requirements. These rules apply to all South Korean citizens and cover all arrivals between December 3 and December 17.
Omicron Starts to Cause Disruptions
As the Omicron COVID-19 variant begins to be reported in South Korea, the 10-day quarantine is being implemented. Five cases were reported in the country as of Wednesday. Two of the cases were reported to have been from Nigeria, where they involved a couple who had been fully vaccinated. Two family members and a close friend of the couple were the other three.
No matter their status, all entrants will be subjected to nationwide quarantine on arrival. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) indicated that exceptions might be made in some cases. These include people who are there to attend the funeral or perform public duties.
We’re on a bumpy path toward a phased recovery of normalcy, and risks from the new Omicron variant are rising,”South Korea President Moon Jae-in
While in quarantine, all foreign nationals must be tested for COVID-19 four times. To quarantine foreign nationals who are only staying for a short time, temporary living facilities will be available. For foreign nationals who stay for longer periods, and South Korean citizens, they will need to remain at home.
Travel from South Africa, Nigeria, and other countries is also restricted until further notice.
Jeju Unable to Catch a Break
Wednesday’s announcement by the KDCA was that new quarantine rules would be in place nationwide, including Jeju Island. The semi-autonomous region has its own regulations that cater to foreign-only casino operators.
Jeju Shinhwa World recently hosted a group from Singapore. This was the first international visitor allowed in nearly two years. This was the weekend that international visitors were allowed to visit. The return of quarantine could prove problematic in the near future.
In February of last year, Jeju’s previous visa-on-arrival program, which allowed foreign nationals with valid passports to enter the area directly without stopping on the South Korean mainland, was canceled.
Last month, it was reported that the local government had sought permission from national authorities to relaunch the program. Permission was apparently still being sought. It’s unlikely that approval will be granted with the new quarantine in effect.
South Korea Sees New COVID-19 Outbreak
According to the KDCA, South Korea recorded 5,266 COVID-19-related new cases on Wednesday. This represents a new daily record and raises the total number of confirmed cases to 457 612 with 3705 deaths.
The new cases were more than the ones reported a day before. South Korea reached 5,000 for the first time on Tuesday.
Nearly 92% have been vaccinated. Now, the focus is on booster programs and children. Experts warn of increased cases from the spread of Omicron variants that could cause more severe complications.