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Foreign virus patients required to cover treatment costs

All News 09:46 August 17, 2020

SEOUL, Aug. 17 (Yonhap) -- Foreign new coronavirus patients are required to share the costs of their treatment here from Monday, with those who violate local rules being obligated to fully pay the bill.

Health authorities said they will request foreign COVID-19 patients to pay the costs for their medical services if they are found to have violated quarantine rules.

From Aug. 24, the country will charge foreigners a different amount by considering the principle of reciprocity in diplomatic relations, according to the authorities.

South Korea has been providing free medical services to all COVID-19 patients reported here, including foreigners.

People arriving from abroad are guided to undergo quarantine procedures in the arrival hall at Incheon airport, west of Seoul, on Aug. 11, 2020. (Yonhap)

There have been growing calls for foreign patients to share the burden, as the prolonged virus pandemic is poised to further burden taxpayers.

South Korea has been cautious about changing its free-of-charge treatment policy due to diplomatic issues.

South Korea, however, will still exempt all costs for foreigners who are infected with the virus here to curb community spread.

Foreigners enrolled in the country's public health care insurance will be eligible for state support.

The country's new coronavirus infections jumped to a five-month high of 279 on Sunday due mainly to a surge in church-related cases in the greater Seoul area.

This brought the country's total caseload to 15,318, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC). Of the total, 267 were locally transmitted cases.


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