South Korea to scrap some COVID tests for travellers from China

South Korean authorities will no longer require arrivals from China to do a COVID test from next month.

South Korea
South Korea is easing pandemic-related restrictions on travellers from China [File: Kim Hong-Ji/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 has said, in the country’s latest relaxing of rules put in place after China’s reopening.

South Korea imposed several border measures on passengers from China after Beijing’s decision to lift its stringent zero-COVID policy but Seoul has been easing restrictions, citing an improved COVID situation in the neighbouring country.

“Additional easing of quarantine measures appear possible as the positive rate among arrivals from China has dropped from 18.4 percent in the first week of January to 0.6 percent in the third week of February,” Kim Sung-ho, a vice ministerial official at South Korea’s Ministry of Interior and Safety, said on Wednesday 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 effects of the relaxation of other COVID rules.

South Korea earlier resumed issuing short-term visas for travellers from China, with Beijing following by lifting similar visa curbs imposed in an earlier retaliatory move against Seoul’s border restrictions.

Source: Reuters