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(LEAD) S. Korea to lift post-entry PCR testing requirement Saturday

10:14 September 30, 2022

(ATTN: ADDS more details, comments in last 6 paras, photo)

SEOUL, Sept. 30 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will remove a COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing requirement for inbound travelers on the first day of their arrival amid the waning virus wave, authorities said Friday.

The measure will take effect Saturday, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

Currently, a PCR test is a must for inbound travelers within the first 24 hours of their entry into the country.

The decision means the removal of all antivirus restrictions regarding inbound travelers. Earlier this month, South Korea removed the mandatory pre-entry testing requirement for inbound travelers.

Those who want a PCR test can undergo a free test at public health centers across the country within three days of their arrival here.

The government has eased antivirus restrictions as the country has seen a gradual decline in infections recently. On Friday, the country reported 28,497 new COVID-19 infections, compared with 29,097 cases a week earlier.

The proportion of infections from overseas has decreased to come to 0.9 percent in September from 1.3 percent the previous month, and the fatality rate of the BA.5 subvariant is quite low, the KDCA said as reasons for its decision to ease the regulation.

But South Korea could reinforce restrictions regarding foreign entrants if it sees the emergence of risky virus variants and the global virus situation changes, Second Vice Health Minister Lee Ki-il told a virus response meeting.

"We are at the final stage of the COVID-19 pandemic. We expect another wave in winter, but we will finally overcome the virus through thorough preparations," Lee said.

Inbound travelers wait to undergo a COVID-19 test at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, on Sept. 29, 2022. (Yonhap)

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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