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(LEAD) 103 countries, territories restricting entry from S. Korea over coronavirus concerns

All News 18:11 March 07, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES figures)
By Kim Seung-yeon

SEOUL, March 7 (Yonhap) -- A total of 103 countries and territories were imposing entry restrictions or stricter quarantine procedures on people from South Korea over coronavirus fears Saturday, despite Seoul's stepped-up efforts to ease the measures.

As of 2 p.m., 36 countries and territories were enforcing an entry ban on people who have been in South Korea during the past two weeks, according to the foreign ministry website.

The tally is down by one from late Friday's tally, as Sao Tome Principe, an African island nation, was deleted due largely to confusion from within its government, a ministry official said.

Bhutan has been newly added to the list since late Friday as it announced it will bar the entry of all foreigners over the next two weeks.

Austria was also added to the list as the country will request all people flying in from South Korea, some regions in China and Iran to submit documents proving they are not infected with the virus from Monday.

The number of those imposing an entry ban on people from Korea's two main epicenters of COVID-19 outbreaks -- Daegu city and the nearby North Gyeongsang Province in the southeast -- remained unchanged at six, including Japan.

(LEAD) 103 countries, territories restricting entry from S. Korea over coronavirus concerns - 1

But Japan is expected to be reclassified as it has announced it will temporarily adopt a two-week quarantine and suspend the no-visa entry program for South Koreans starting Monday through end-March.

Effective Saturday, Fiji bars the entry of people from all of Korea, expanding the restriction from Daegu and Cheongdo, a county in North Gyeongsang Province.

Seoul has stepped up diplomatic efforts to persuade foreign countries to refrain from taking what it calls "excessive" restriction measures, reassuring them of Korea's active and prompt containment efforts to fight the virus.

On Friday, Seoul's foreign ministry hosted a second briefing for foreign diplomats, less than two weeks after the first session, in a bid to reinforce such calls.

A total of 15 countries and territories, including 18 Chinese provinces, are currently quarantining people from South Korea or other virus-affected countries at designated facilities.

The number of countries and territories imposing stricter immigration controls or recommending quarantine programs for Koreans stood at 45.

South Korea's virus cases topped 7,000 on Saturday, with a death toll standing at 44.


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