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S. Korea to strengthen quarantine against animal diseases over rising int'l flights

Economy 11:44 May 17, 2022

SEOUL, May 17 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will step up quarantine efforts at major airports and harbors to prevent African swine fever (ASF) and other contagious animal diseases from entering the country, the agriculture ministry said Tuesday.

The move comes as the number of international flights is set to increase further starting next month as the country plans to add hundreds more flights to meet growing demand for travel over the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said it will beef up the quarantine system at eight airports and six harbors, including those in the western port city of Incheon, Gimpo in Seoul, and the southern resort island of Jeju.

The ministry will conduct on-site inspections and mock training this month to implement due quarantine procedures.

The ministry also vowed to strengthen the campaign to prevent foreign workers, international students and other immigrants from bringing in banned or unregistered agricultural and livestock products.

Those who fail to report such products to the authorities will face a maximum fine of 10 million won (US$7,821), according to the ministry.

"We ask people to refrain from visiting farms in foreign nations and bringing in food and other livestock products here. We will thoroughly implement stronger quarantine steps," a ministry official said.

South Korea has had around 300 ASF cases this year, which has shown signs of letting up in recent weeks. Some 63 nations have reported ASF outbreaks, including China, Vietnam, the Philippines, India and Indonesia, the ministry said.

ASF does not affect humans but is deadly to pigs. No vaccine or cure for the disease is now available.

Beginning May, South Korea is seeking to raise the number of weekly international flights to restore them to 50 percent of the pre-pandemic level.

Currently, the number of inbound and outbound international flights came to about 530 per week, which amounts to about 10 percent of the level seen before the pandemic.

This file photo, taken on March 20, 2022, shows people at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul. (Yonhap)

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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