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Foreign arrivals for short-term stay drop 70 pct after visa suspension

All News 14:36 April 18, 2020

SEOUL, April 18 (Yonhap) -- The number of foreigners coming to South Korea for a short-term stay tumbled more than 70 percent after Seoul's suspension of visa-free entry and visa waiver programs to curb the inflow of the coronavirus from abroad, authorities said Saturday.

Starting on Monday, the country suspended visa-free entry and visa waiver programs for 90 countries, as it has seen an increasing number of COVID-19 infection cases coming in from abroad amid the global pandemic.

The total number of foreigners who arrived here stood at 836 on Thursday, down from an average of 1,332 during the first 12 days of this month, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

Of them, those who came here for a short-term stay fell more than 70 percent from 266 people on average earlier this month to 77 on Wednesday and further to 70 the following day, it added.

"Tougher entry restrictions for foreigners have led to the decrease in the number of arrivals from overseas. We expect such measures to help us better prevent the possibility of the inflow of the virus from overseas," Vice Health Minister Kim Ganglip said.

On Saturday, South Korea reported 18 more virus patients, and the total number of infections stood at 10,653, including 232 deaths. Of the newly confirmed cases, four were detected at border checkpoints, according to the KCDC.

The arrival lobby of the first terminal of Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, is quiet on April 13, 2020, as steps to restrict visa-free entry from 90 countries were implemented on the day in a bid to prevent virus inflow from abroad. (Yonhap)

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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