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S. Korea's COVID-19 cases fall; curbs on travelers from China in place

All News 10:02 January 02, 2023

SEOUL, Jan. 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's new COVID-19 cases fell for the sixth consecutive day Monday amid concerns over a wintertime surge, with the government beginning to require a PCR test for travelers from China as the virus spreads in the neighboring country.

The country confirmed 22,735 new coronavirus infections, including 35 from overseas, bringing the total to 29,139,535, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

The daily caseload has been on a steady decline since Tuesday when the figure jumped to 87,578. Monday's figure is smaller than 25,531 infections a week earlier.

The country added 53 COVID-19 deaths, bringing the death toll to 32,272. The death rate stood at 0.11 percent.

The number of critically ill patients rose to 637, the largest figure in more than eight months. The figure surpassed 600 on Sunday for the first time since late-April.

The authorities have been stepping up efforts to minimize the impact of a recent surge in the virus in China as Beijing eased strict antivirus restrictions.

Beginning Monday, all arrivals from China must undergo a PCR test within the first day of their arrival.

South Korea also restricted issuing short-term visas for Chinese nationals, excluding diplomats, public officials, essential business and humanitarian purposes, which will be in place until the end of this month.

Starting Thursday, those from China must show either a negative PCR or antigen test for the coronavirus before boarding flights to South Korea. They will be required to receive a PCR test within 48 hours before their arrival or an antigen test within 24 hours before their arrival.

The measures will remain in effect until end-February.

"The government is inevitably strengthening some anti-epidemic measures to prevent the spread at home because of the worsening COVID-19 situation in China," Prime Minister Han Duck-soo said during a press briefing last week.

Inbound travelers move about Terminal 1 of Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, on Dec. 30, 2022. (Yonhap)

Inbound travelers move about Terminal 1 of Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, on Dec. 30, 2022. (Yonhap)


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