South Korea to exempt fully vaccinated travelers from 14-day quarantine

Seoul, Apr 28 (EFE).- People arriving in South Korea who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will be exempt from undergoing a mandatory 14-day quarantine, health authorities in the Asian country said Wednesday.

The measure will be implemented starting May 5, and will initially only apply to people who have received both doses of the vaccine in South Korea, Choi Ho-yong of the Korean Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) explained at a press conference.

Since soon after the beginning of the pandemic, South Korea has subjected anyone entering the country to a strict 14-day quarantine, with authorities using GPS mobile phone signals to make sure those in quarantine do not leave their isolation area.

Starting May 5, those who have received the second dose of the vaccine in South Korea (South Korea currently only administers the Pfizer and AstraZeneca drugs) at least two weeks prior will be exempt from the quarantine when they leave and re-enter the country, although they will still have to provide a negative test result upon landing.

The KDCA indicated that even people who have been fully vaccinated will continue to be monitored for possible symptoms for 14 days after entry and will be required to undergo a mandatory PCR test at the end of that period.

Travelers coming from countries where more contagious variants have been detected, such as South Africa or Brazil, will not be exempt from quarantine.

Those who have been vaccinated in other countries “will be recognized (for quarantine exemption) gradually through agreements (with other countries) in the future,” Choi said.

The official explained that such agreements would be easier to reach with countries that are administering the same vaccines.

South Korea has so far only approved the use of jabs developed by AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Janssen, which would mean people who have been vaccinated with the Chinese-made Sinopharm or the Russian Sputnik V would still have to go into quarantine, at least for the foreseeable future.

South Korea is lagging behind other developed countries in its vaccine rollout, having fully inoculated 148,282 people, a mere 0.3 percent of the adult population. EFE


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