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S. Korea testing all entrants flying in from Europe
Updated: 2020-03-26 17:17:15 KST
Many South Korean nationals are returning home from Europe amid the worsening COVID-19 situation there.
Lee Won-jo, a Korea student in Paris, is one of them. Arirang News talked to him about his reasons for leaving back on March 17th.

"My school has been closed indefinitely. But another problem was rent. My roommate has decided to return home, meaning I will have to pay the rent all by myself. So I've also decided to go back."

He arrived back in South Korea on Monday, but it took him over 48 hours before he got home.
He waited for six hours at the airport before being sent to a temporary facility in Asan, Chungcheongnam-do Province.

"It took long to find a quarantine facility because all the places near Incheon were full."

The next morning, he was tested for COVID-19.
And, the day after, when his test result came out negative, he finally met his family.

Lee had to go through this extensive process as from March 22nd, South Korea has been testing all entrants flying in from Europe.

The government had initially sent all entrants to quarantine facilities.
But due to shortages, it modified the policy on the 24th,…to house only those with suspected symptoms and discharge them after they test negative.
Asymptomatic entrants are now allowed to return home immediately, but they are still required to get tested at their respective public health centers within 3 days.
But all of them, even if those without symptoms, are required to self-isolate for 14 days, and those who violate this rule will be fined up to 8-hundred dollars.

Foreigners without a connection to the country such as a spouse or family member will be sent to quarantine facilities regardless of the presence of symptoms.
And upon release after testing negative, a 14-day self-quarantine will be applied for long-term travelers while short-term travelers will be actively monitored.

Starting March 27th, the government will apply similar measures to entrants from the U.S.
But it will not test everyone like it did to thousands of arrivals from Europe.

Lee Kyung-eun, Arirang News.
Reporter : kelee@arirang.com