The South Korean government has decided to extend the 10-day quarantine mandate by four weeks for all inbound travelers in order to prevent the spread of the Omicron variant. It is also considering maintaining the current social distancing rules, which will be in effect until Jan. 2, for at least two more weeks.
Health authorities said on Wednesday that they are maintaining the current entry restrictions, including the 10-day quarantine mandate for all inbound travelers and the entry ban on foreigners from 11 countries, including South Africa until Feb. 3. The current restrictions went into effect on Dec. 3 and have been extended once.
The decision is caused by an increase in Omicron variant cases in the country. Korea reported a daily high of Omicron variant cases at 109 at 12 a.m. on Wednesday. Among them, 69 were inbound travelers. With the Omicron variant becoming the most dominant strain in countries around the world, there is a surge of Omicron cases among inbound travelers.
Korea is also seeing new cases of community transmission of the Omicron variant. On this day alone, the country saw 11 new Omicron variant cases, whose route of infection is unknown. “Considering the transmission potential of the Omicron variant, we expect to see more of the Omicron variant cases with unknown sources of infection,” said Park Young-joon, head of the epidemiological investigation team at the Central Disease Control Headquarters. “In particular, the increase of new cases will be even faster when testing numbers increase from Dec. 30.”