South Korea to lift post-arrival COVID test requirement for travellers from China

A South Korean soldier wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) leads a group of Chinese tourists to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing centre upon their arrival at the Incheon International Airport in Incheon, South Korea, January 12, 2023. / REUTERS

South Korea will not require travellers from China to test for COVID-19 after arrival starting next month, although they will still need to take pre-departure tests, a senior South Korean official said on Wednesday, in the country’s latest relaxing of rules that were put in place after China’s reopening.

South Korea had imposed a number of border measures on passengers from China after Beijing’s decision to lift stringent zero-COVID policies, but has been easing some of them citing an improved COVID situation in its neighbour.

“Additional easing of quarantine measures appear possible as the positive rate among arrivals from China has dropped from 18.4% in the first week of January to 0.6% in the third week of February,” Kim Sung-ho, a vice ministerial official at the Ministry of Interior and Safety, said during a meeting on responses to the COVID pandemic.

Mandatory PCR tests before departure for passengers from China will remain in place until March 10, Kim said, to monitor and evaluate the impact of the relaxation of other COVID rules.

South Korea earlier resumed issuing short-term visas for travellers from China, followed by Beijing’s lifting of similar visa curbs that were imposed in a retaliatory move against Seoul’s border restrictions.


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