South Korea demands removal from Thailand’s list of COVID high risk countries

FILE PHOTO: People wearing masks to avoid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) arrive at Gimpo international airport in Seoul, South Korea, May 1, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

The South Korean Embassy in Bangkok issued a statement today urging the Thai government to remove South Korea from the list of COVID-19 “high risk” countries, claiming the situation now is different from when Thailand drew up the list.

On March 6th, Thailand designated China, South Korea, Iran, Italy, Hong Kong and Macau as high risk areas for COVID-19 infection.  The designation means that their citizens are required to produce proof of health insurance and a doctor’s certificate in order to enter Thailand.  Moreover, they are required to enter 14-day state quarantine, as do all in-bound arrivals.

In the statement, the South Korean embassy also said that keeping South Korea on the list amounts to unfair stigmatization.

The embassy explained that delisting South Korea does not mean that South Koreans can automatically enter Thailand, pointing out that restrictions on in-bound travelers is in accordance with the State of Emergency Decree, which is unrelated to the designation of high-risk countries under the Infectious Disease Control Act.

Delisting South Korea and the permission for South Koreans to enter Thailand are two different issues, said the embassy, adding that delisting does not expose Thai people to greater risk or compromise Thailand’s health and safety for the sake of a diplomatic relationship.

When Thailand issued the list, South Korea ranked second, after China, in terms of cumulative infections but, on May 13th, South Korea ranked 40th globally, said the embassy, adding that there was not a single infection among 7,000 Thais arriving back in Thailand from South Korea.


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