SEOUL, May 5 (Yonhap) -- Nearly all South Koreans who arrived from virus-hit India earlier this week tested negative for the new coronavirus, health authorities said Wednesday.
On Tuesday, 172 South Korean residents returned home from India via a special flight, which include workers of Hyundai Motor Co.
According to health authorities, 167 out of the passengers tested negative, with four set to undergo additional tests. One person tested positive.
India has been a virus hotspot in recent months, with a COVID-19 variant strain also posing a problem. The country has reported more than 300,000 new coronavirus cases per day for 13 consecutive days, with its accumulated total now exceeding 20 million.
Regular flights between South Korea and India have been suspended since March last year over virus concerns. Since then, only irregular flights have been operated between the two countries.
But to better contain the Indian variant of COVID-19, South Korea started to suspend such flights on April 24, although it allowed flights carrying South Korean nationals to operate on a limited basis.
All arrivals from India must stay in state-designated shelters for seven days even if they test negative for COVID-19.
Previously, travelers from India had to stay at the shelters for two days, but health authorities decided to tighten measures to better curb imported cases.
They have to take a diagnostic test on the sixth day after their arrival and can move to their residences for self-isolation if they test negative. They need to undergo virus tests again before they are allowed to leave self-isolation.
On Friday, a charter flight of Asiana Airlines is scheduled to return home with an additional 211 South Koreans from India.
The authorities plan to operate 10 more non-scheduled flights this month to transport South Korean citizens back from India.