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Entry ban on S. Koreans spreads to seven countries

Posted February. 25, 2020 07:34,   

Updated February. 25, 2020 07:34


As the number of patients confirmed with COVID-19 spikes in South Korea, more countries are locking their doors to South Koreans. Jordan officially banned entry of Koreans on Sunday (local time), and Mauritius, an African island country, imposed a de facto entry ban on Koreans as well. Qatar and Macau decided to isolate Koreans in a facility or dictate self-isolation for 14 days who enter the country. Australia raised the travel alert to South Korea to the second-highest level.

Seven countries (Israel, Jordan, Mauritius and others) imposed an entry ban on Koreans as of Monday and nine countries and regions (Qatar, the U.K., Macau and others) put a travel restriction on South Koreans including enhanced quarantine. South Korean nationals living abroad, sojourning employees and tourists would face more difficulties due to travel restrictions.

Mauritius transferred 36 tourists including newlyweds who arrived via Dubai on Sunday to a hospital without a prior notice. The South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Mauritius’ health ministry ordered a temporary measure when some tourists had cold symptoms.

South Korean tourists in Israel including pilgrims are experiencing inconvenience as operation of Korean Air is suspended in the nation, which abruptly put an entry ban on South Koreans on Saturday. According to the Korean embassy in Israel, more than 200 Korean tourists left the country on Turkish Airlines and Russian Airlines on Sunday.

The South Korean government is considering a chartered plane for 200 Korean tourists who are stranded in Israel. “The government is reviewing possibilities of using a chartered plane on condition that the Israeli government bears the expenses,” the foreign ministry said.

As South Koreans are ordered to isolate themselves for 14 days in Qatar where Korean businesses including construction companies have been active, there is a growing concern that there would be difficulties in future businesses. A trade mission event by KOTRA visiting Korea and Qatar has been cancelled and construction companies are concerned that there would be delays in dispatching human resources.

China has strengthened quarantine on passengers who depart from South Korea to prevent the inflow of the coronavirus. According to a report of CCTV on Monday, the Yanji Chaoyangchuan Airport in Jilin province set up a passageway for passengers coming from South Korea on Sunday night to physically separate them from other passengers.

Se-Hyung Lee turtle@donga.com · Wan-Jun Yun zeitung@donga.com