SEOUL, Aug. 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's government on Wednesday urged all foreigners staying long-term here to get COVID-19 vaccine shots as soon as possible, saying they are treated the same as South Korean nationals when it comes to the vaccination process.
The announcement jointly made by the Korea Immigration Service under the Ministry of Justice, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) and local governments came amid rising coronavirus infections among migrant workers across the country.
The government agencies emphasized that all foreigners residing long-term in South Korea are eligible to receive free COVID-19 vaccinations regardless of their visa status, in accordance with the same procedures as locals.
Registered foreigners who are covered by the National Health Insurance Service can get a shot after making a reservation for the inoculation date, time and medical institution through the KDCA's reservation system (https://ncvr.kdca.go.kr/) under the same procedures as locals.
Illegal or undocumented long-term stayers and those who are exempt from alien registration can also receive vaccinations after visiting community health centers nationwide with their passports and getting temporary management codes, the agencies said.
South Korea already allows undocumented foreigners to simply and anonymously take free COVID-19 tests at any testing centers run by local governments nationwide after providing just their mobile phone numbers.
The government agencies said all illegal stayers, in particular, will not be subject to any disadvantages in the process of COVID-19 tests and vaccinations.
Earlier this week, 11 migrant workers were found to have been infected with COVID-19 in Paju, just northwest of Seoul, while Donghae, an east coast city, reported more than 21 infections among foreigners. In Pohang, southeastern South Korea, a coronavirus cluster traced to a meeting of foreign nationals has so far infected 20 people.
In addition, Ansan and Siheung, both of Gyeonggi Province, Gangneung of Gangwon Province and Mokpo of South Jeolla Province have also reported a large number of COVID-19 cases among migrant workers.