Korea is restricting the entry of Chinese travelers in fear of the re-emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic, which is worsening in China. All flights from China will land at Incheon International Airport from January 2, 2023. Korea will also restrict issuing short-term visas for Chinese tourists.
On Friday, the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters (CDSCHQ) announced ‘the Covid-19 response strategy concerning China.’ According to the CDSCHQ, 65 flights are flying from China to Incheon, Gimhae, Daegu, and Jeju international airports. However, from January 2 to February 28 next year, flights from China can only land at Incheon International Airport. The number of flights flying from China will be reduced to 62 from 65 without a possibility of increasing.
Amid China's deciding to normalize passport issuance for its people for overseas travel, Korea will not issue short-term visas for those visiting Korea unless it is for diplomatic, business, and humanitarian reasons ― between Jan. 2 and 31. Plus, anyone entering from China to Korea must take Covid-19 tests before and after entry.
The Korean government’s anti-virus measures regarding China are stronger than other countries such as the U.S. and Japan. It is because the nation fears that the variants from China could exacerbate the Covid-19 situation, which has been easing in Korea these days. In addition, the government’s preemptive measures come from its experience where the number of Covid patients surged significantly in early 2020 because of the delayed initial countermeasures at the time of the first outbreak of Covid-19 in China.
The percentage of inbound travelers from China in the total imported cases has increased significantly in the past month. Last month, 19 (1.1%) out of 1,750 imported cases were from China, but 278 (15%) out of 1,849 were from China from December 1 to 28.