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(LEAD) PM: S. Korea to enforce mandatory two-week quarantine for all entrants from overseas

All News 15:56 March 29, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS details throughout, photo)

SEOUL, March 29 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will enforce a two-week mandatory coronavirus quarantine for all entrants from overseas starting Wednesday, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said Sunday, amid a steady inflow of virus cases from abroad.

All entrants to the country, regardless of their nationality, should stay in quarantine, the prime minister said. Visitors without local addresses here should stay in government-designated facilities at their own expense, he said.

"The government has strengthened quarantine measures on entrants from Europe and the United States, but considering the unprecedented speed the virus is spreading globally, we need additional measures," Chung said during a government meeting on COVID-19.

South Korea has been already enforcing both a two-week quarantine period and virus tests for all long-term arrivals from Europe, regardless of symptoms. Entrants from the U.S. were also required to self-isolate at home for two weeks.

"In order to effectively prevent entry to the country for unimportant purposes, such as travel, we will expand the compulsory quarantine measure to all foreigners coming in for short stays too," he said.

South Korea reported 105 new cases of the coronavirus Sunday, bringing the nation's total to 9,583, including 152 deaths.

Of the new cases, 41 involved entrants from overseas -- 23 from Europe, 14 from the Americas and four from unidentified Asian countries. Accounting for 4.3 percent of the total, 412 imported cases have been reported so far, according to health authorities.

Referring to 3.3 million Americans who filed for unemployment insurance last week, the prime minister also called for measures to minimize the virus' impact on the country's job market.

"The economic impact we will have to go through, as an export-dependent country, is unlikely to be smaller than that of the U.S.," Chung said. "We need preemptive measures to stabilize the job market."

Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun (R) speaks during a government meeting to discuss measures against the new coronavirus at the government complex in Seoul on March 29, 2020. (Yonhap)


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