South Korea announced Sunday that all people arriving in the country from overseas will from April have to spend two weeks in self-isolation, in a bid to curtail the influx of travelers carrying the novel coronavirus.
Prime Minister Chung Sye Kyun said the measure, which goes into effect Wednesday, will apply to all entrants to the country, regardless of nationality.
(A huge screen displays "COVID -19 OUT and Cheer up Korea" on March 27, 2020 in Seoul.)[Getty/Kyodo]
Speaking at a government meeting on COVID-19, Chung said the move was required due to the increasing burden on the community stemming from the rising number of imported cases.
"In order to effectively prevent entry to the country for unimportant purposes, such as travel, we are expanding the compulsory quarantine measure to all foreigners coming in for short stays too," he said.
Visitors without lodging arrangements will be required to stay in government-designated facilities at their own expense, he added.
A mandatory two-week quarantine is already in place for visitors from Europe on long-term visas and visitors from Japan.
The local health authorities on Sunday reported 105 new cases of the novel coronavirus in the 24 hours to the end of Saturday, bringing the national tally to 9,583.
Of the new cases, 41 involved travelers from overseas, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As for the locally transmitted cases, the southeastern city of Daegu and surrounding North Gyeongsang Province -- the nation's two worst-affected regions -- accounted for 25 of them.
It also reported eight more deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, raising the death toll to 152.