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South Korea says long-term visa holders must have medical examinations before returning

 

Reuters

Seoul, South Korea  /  Sat, May 23, 2020  /  01:04 pm
South Korea says long-term visa holders must have medical examinations before returning

A family wearing masks to avoid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) arrive at Gimpo international airport in Seoul, South Korea, on May 1, 2020. (REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji)

Foreign long-term residents of South Korea will need to obtain a re-entry permit before leaving the country, and a medical exam before returning, to help stem coronavirus infections, according to government notices posted online.

Some foreign embassies began issuing notices dated Thursday, and the new policies were outlined in Korean on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

Asked about the notices, the presidential Blue House on Friday confirmed the changes but said the Ministry of Justice would make a formal announcement, possibly as soon as Sunday.

According to the notices, starting on June 1, South Korea will temporarily require re-entry permits, which are usually waived for long-term visa holders. If the permit is not obtained at a local immigration office before departing South Korea, the resident will lose their visa.

The provision does not apply to diplomatic or official visas or 'overseas Korean' visas - given to people with a foreign parent or grandparent who once held Korean nationality.

Shortly before returning to South Korea, the resident will need to undergo a medical examination, and then present a signed certificate to immigration officials upon arrival.

Read also: China, South Korea consult Japan on easing business-travel curbs: Yomiuri

"The diagnosis shall be written in English or Korean, signed by a medical examiner and issued by an authorized medical institution," the Indian Embassy to South Korea said in a statement.

"It shall also include the date of examination and the presence or absence of fever, cough, chills, headache, breathing difficulty, muscle pain, and pulmonary symptoms."

Like all arrivals from overseas, returning long-term residents must still be tested and submit to a mandatory two-week quarantine, though they can self-isolate at home if they do not have symptoms.

South Korea reported 20 new coronavirus cases as of midnight Thursday, bringing its total to 11,142, with 266 deaths.

Nine of the new infections were imported cases. A total of 1,200 infections are from overseas, and nearly 90 percent of them are Korean nationals flying back from abroad.

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