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Foreign countries begin granting businesspeople exceptions to entry restrictions on S. Koreans: ministry

All News 16:32 March 11, 2020

By Kim Seung-yeon

SEOUL, March 11 (Yonhap) -- A few countries have allowed in businesspeople from South Korea in exceptions to their coronavirus entry restrictions, a foreign ministry official said Wednesday, pledging greater efforts to make such exceptions a standard practice.

The ministry said earlier that the government is in consultations with some 20 countries to explore ways to allow entry for at least businesspeople seeking to travel overseas for work, on the condition that they are cleared of symptoms.

Such countries possibly include China, Vietnam, Indonesia and India, where many Korean companies have been involved in various large-scale projects and are trying to expand their footholds.

A foreign ministry official said there have been "three or four" such cases.

"We have been briefed that they were granted an exception after submitting government-certified documentation proving they have tested negative for the virus, filling out a health questionnaire and agreeing to report their temperature every day for the next 14 days," the official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

The official said such exceptions are only being applied on a case-by-case basis, given that many countries around the world have been imposing entry restrictions on South Koreans.

"We are discussing with other countries with hopes that we can turn this into a general policy of exceptions applicable to our businesspeople," he said.

"It's a start. We don't have many cases yet. We hope to see more of them."

Foreign countries are reportedly very cautious about allowing exceptions as they have already been enforcing tougher entry controls for Korea, one of the countries hit hardest by the outbreak of COVID-19.

South Korea has reported 7,755 cases of coronavirus infections, with 60 deaths. As of Wednesday afternoon, 116 countries and territories were imposing entry restrictions or tougher quarantine procedures for people from South Korea over coronavirus concerns.

Foreign countries begin granting businesspeople exceptions to entry restrictions on S. Koreans: ministry - 1

elly@yna.co.kr
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