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South Korea to Curb Visas, Flights from Pakistan, Bangladesh

by Newsweek Pakistan
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File photo. Farooq Naeem—AFP

Seoul issues statement saying travel restrictions being imposed due to surge in COVID-19 cases imported from two countries

The South Korean government on Sunday announced it was restricting visas to, and flights from, Pakistan and Bangladesh following a surge in novel coronavirus cases from travelers arriving from the two countries.

The precautionary measures, which are set to go into effect from Tuesday (June 23), include a restriction on issuing visas to people from Pakistan and Bangladesh except for diplomatic and urgent business purposes. Similarly, a temporary ban has been imposed on non-scheduled flights between South Korea and the two South Asian nations.

Seoul has announced that in addition to restrictions on visas and lights, the government would also check if foreigners with non-professional employment visas have fixed residences for two weeks of self-quarantine in South Korea prior to arrival. Anyone who does not have residential requirements fulfilled prior to arrival would be banned from entering the country.

The restrictions have been announced following a surge in South Korea of new coronavirus cases from overseas in June. The number of imported COVID-19 cases reached 13 on June 12—and a 68-day high of 17 on June 19.

“Those imported cases are from countries that recently experienced widespread infections,” Health Minister Park Neung-hoo said in a press briefing. “A rise in imported cases places a burden on our quarantine and treatment capabilities,” he added.

Pakistan is among the top five countries—out of 188 nations—reporting currently active cases of COVID-19. It has also ranked similarly in terms of new infections and deaths for over a week. Observers have warned that as more nations curb the spread of the virus, countries that have failed in their response would soon face travel restrictions and international isolation.

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