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SEOUL, Feb. 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korea said Sunday it will bar foreigners who've been in China's Hubei Province in the past two weeks from entering the country in a drastic measure to stem further spread of the new coronavirus here.
The entry ban will take effect on Tuesday, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said in a hastily arranged meeting to discuss measures against the novel virus.
The measure is intended to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, which broke out in Wuhan, Hubei, in December and has since reached South Korea and other nations around the globe.
The United States and Japan are among other countries to have issued a similar entry ban.
So far, South Korea has reported 15 virus cases, some of which are believed to be the result of human transmission.
Chung said South Koreans returning from the virus-hit province will be required to spend 14 days in self-quarantine. In addition, the visa-free program for foreign travelers to the southern resort island of Jeju will be temporarily suspended.
"We have to block off transmission paths across local communities even more tightly," Chung said. "We could be in for a long haul, and have to come up with mid- to long-term responses to the worst-case scenarios."
South Korea flew back around 700 of its citizens from Wuhan over the weekend, and they've been quarantined at two separate facilities in Asan and Jincheon, both south of Seoul. One of the returning residents has been diagnosed with the coronavirus.
Chung said those in the quarantine shelters are being checked twice each day.
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