International students arriving in S. Korea need to undergo 3 PRC tests for COVID-19

한겨레 입력 2021. 1. 28. 18:36
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Education Ministry announces disease control measures for students arriving from overseas
International students from China arrive at Incheon International Airport in March 2020. (Baek So-ah, staff photographer)

All international students visiting South Korea will need to undergo three polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for COVID-19 following their arrival.

On Jan. 27, the Ministry of Education (MOE) announced its implementation of a “protection and management plan for international students” for the first semester of this year. In it, the MOE states that all arriving international students must undergo three PCR tests before being released from quarantine.

First, they will need a PCR test performed within 72 hours prior to their departure. Once they arrive in South Korea, they will need to present proof of a negative test result or they will be denied entry.

After entering South Korea, they will be required to undergo another PCR test at a local screening center. Finally, they will need an additional PCR test prior to their release after 14 days of quarantine. Passengers who exhibit symptoms during inspection procedures upon arrival need to undergo additional PCR testing at the airport before passing through immigration.

The MOE will instruct universities to develop international student management regimens and share the arrival data of international students with their respective local governments. This is to enforce disease management measures regarding international students and quarantine management staff. It is also meant to ensure adequate supplies of testing kits.

The MOE will advise students to enter the country only after securing a place of residence such as a dormitory room or a quarantine facility. Students arriving from regions where virus variants have been detected, such as the UK and South Africa, will not be allowed into the country.

A total of 30,259 international students arrived in South Korea for the second semester last year. This amounted to 34.1% of the 88,609 students who arrived for the first semester of 2020, and just 15.8% of the 191,062 who arrived for the second semester of 2019. Chinese students accounted for 16,439 of them, followed by 4,297 students from Vietnam and 1,034 from Japan.

Among the 55,670 international students who entered South Korea between March and December 2020, a total of 165 tested positive for COVID-19. There have been no cases of additional community transmission attributed to the diagnosed students.

By Choi Won-hyung, staff reporter

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