From March 1, South Korea will no longer require travellers inbound via China to take a post-arrival test for Covid-19 infection.
The move was on the basis that the Covid-19 situation in China remains stable, reported Yonhap News Agency, citing Wednesday comments by Kim Sung-ho, a senior official of the Ministry of the Interior and Safety.
South Korea had introduced pre- and post-arrival testing for travellers via China since early January, including Macau and Hong Kong, citing the spread of Covid-19 in the latter nation after its relaxation of long-standing ‘zero-Covid’ countermeasures.
But the proportion of people arriving via China that tested Covid-19-‘positive’ had fallen to 0.6 percent in the third week of February, from 18.4 percent in the first week of January, reported Yonhap.
A pre-arrival test requirement for such inbound travellers will remain in place until March 10 to monitor the effect of the eased restrictions, added the official. The measure will cover arrivals via mainland China, and also those via either Hong Kong or Macau.
South Korea had from early January also restricted issuance of short-term visas for Chinese applying via the latter country.
On February 11, South Korea resumed issuing short-term visas for Chinese visitors. China also restarted on Saturday issuing short-term visas for South Koreans.
On Wednesday’s comments to the press, the South Korean authorities indicated they would allow flights from China to land at airports other than Incheon International Airport, outside the capital Seoul.
South Korea will also permit an increase in flights between that nation and China from 62 per week to 80 per week, by the end of this month, and to 100 per week in March, according to comments last week by South Korea’s Prime Minister, Han Duck-soo.
In pre-pandemic trading, Chinese had been an important element in the earnings of a number of foreigner-only casinos operated in South Korea, according to information provided by the venues’ controlling companies.
In the past few years, the authorities on the Chinese mainland have had a crackdown on residents seeking either to pursue or help others in “cross-border gambling”.
South Korea has 17 casinos, but only one of them – Kangwon Land – is permitted to offer gambling to locals.
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Feb 22, 2023