South Korea to scrap COVID tests for arrivals in boost for travel | Aviation

Travelers to the country will no longer have to present negative coronavirus test results starting Saturday.

South Korea will cancel pre-departure COVID-19 tests for arrivals, scrapping pandemic-related final border controls to boost the country’s beleaguered tourism industry .

Yonhap news agency reported on Wednesday that travelers to the country will no longer be required to present negative coronavirus test results.

The change comes after a government advisory committee recommended ending mandatory PCR tests for domestic travelers.

South Korea is one of the last economies in the region to adhere to strict border controls, although China, which has an extremely strict “0 COVID” strategy, Japan and Taiwan continues to impose extensive barriers to travel.

Asian countries including Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia have lifted screening requirements in recent months as the region welcomes travel back after relying heavily on previous border restrictions that during the pandemic.

South Korea lifted quarantine requirements for vaccinated travelers in April and lifted quarantine for all arrivals regardless of vaccination status in July. However, returning travelers Again, it has been slow, with passenger traffic at the main gateway Incheon Airport in July reaching less than a quarter of pre-pandemic levels.

The East Asian country has reported some of the highest COVID-19 cases in the world in recent weeks despite high vaccination rates and widespread mask wearing, even though the majority of infections are mild. .

Daily cases have hovered around 100,000 since peaking at 180,000 in mid-August amid the spread of highly transmissible Omicron sub-variants.

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