The government decided to remove Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing requirements for inbound travelers starting from Oct. 1
With the decision, Korea has completely lifted all antivirus restrictions regarding inbound travelers.
Korea has been slowly lifting quarantine measures for overseas entrants, with health officials most recently removing the pre-travel Covid-19 test requirement from Sept. 3.
Still, to block the influx of Covid-19 variants, the government had maintained post-arrival PCR testing within a day after entry.
The authorities decided to lift the measure due to the low fatality rate of the BA.5, an Omicron subvariant and dominant strain in Korea, and the drop in imported cases rate among total cases in September (0.9 percent) compared to August (1.3 percent).
“However, those who show virus symptoms within three days of their arrival can undergo a free PCR test at public health centers across the country,” Second Vice Minister of Health and Welfare Lee Ki-il said during a press briefing on Friday. “Korea could reinforce restrictions regarding foreign entrants again if it sees the emergence of a variant with a high fatality rate or the global virus situation changes.”
Face-to-face visits to nursing homes, hospitals possible from Oct.4
Quarantine officials have also decided to ease quarantine measures for vulnerable facilities.
From next Tuesday, those who tested negative after a self-diagnosis Covid-19 kit can conduct face-to-face visits at nursing homes and hospitals.
Patients and residents of such nursing facilities, who have completed the second booster shot, can also go out, stay overnight, and seek outpatient treatment.
“The number of group infections in vulnerable facilities decreased by 64 percent from 3,015 in August to 1,075 in September,” Lee said. “Also, the second booster vaccination rate in nursing hospitals and facilities is very high at 90.3 percent.”
Considering the stable quarantine situation and high vaccination rate, the government has decided to implement mild quarantine measures for facilities vulnerable to infection, Lee added.
On Friday, Korea added 28,497 new Covid-19 infections, including 276 cases from abroad, bringing the total caseload to 24,769,101, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).
The nation also reported 42 more Covid-19 deaths, raising the death toll to 28,406. The fatality rate stood at 0.11 percent. The number of critically ill patients came to 352, down 11 from the previous day, recording the lowest figure in 53 days, the KDCA said.
According to the KDCA, about 44.67 million among 52 million Koreans have been fully vaccinated. In addition, about 33.6 million people had received their first booster shots, and 7.44 million had their second booster shots.