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(LEAD) 142 countries, territories restricting entry from S. Korea over coronavirus fears

Diplomacy 16:26 March 16, 2020

(ATTN: RECASTS story with updated info throughout)
By Kim Seung-yeon

SEOUL, March 16 (Yonhap) -- A total of 142 countries and territories were imposing entry bans or stricter quarantine procedures or plan to do so for people from South Korea over coronavirus concerns Monday, the foreign ministry said.

Four countries -- Peru, Serbia, Panama and Argentina -- joined the list of countries and territories set to bar or barring the entry of people who have visited Korea at least in the past two weeks, putting the total number at 75 as of 2 p.m., the ministry's chart showed.

Peru is set to implement a ban on all arrivals and departures from Tuesday (Peru time) after announcing that it will close its borders to stem the spread of the virus.

The other three countries were moved to this list after toughening their restriction measures for people from Korea. Serbia had barred the entry of people from Korea's two epicenters of the virus outbreak, while Panama and Argentina had required people coming in from Korea to self-isolate.

Earlier in the day, Bolivia and South Africa joined the list as they announced plans to enforce the entry ban this week. Belize, Tunisia, Ghana and Kenya have also toughened their travel curbs to ban the entry of foreigners from virus-affected nations, as opposed to so far having imposed stricter quarantine systems like a 14-day self-isolation.

Some exceptions apply to those with long-stay visas, residential permits or other essential reasons.

The updates put the number of countries and territories barring the entry of people from southeastern parts of Korea -- Daegu city and North Gyeongsang Province -- where the majority of the COVID-19 outbreaks have occurred, at five, minus Serbia.

A total of 17 countries and territories, including 22 cities, provinces and autonomous regions of China, were taking tougher quarantine measures, mostly a two-week mandatory isolation at designated facilities.

The Dominican Republic was the latest join the list of now 45 countries and territories imposing stricter health screenings and requiring or recommending isolation.

South Korea reported 74 new cases of confirmed coronavirus infections Monday, bringing the total infection tally to 8,236, with 75 deaths.

(LEAD) 142 countries, territories restricting entry from S. Korea over coronavirus fears - 1


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