DestinationsFrom 3 September, international travellers no longer need to take a Covid-19 test to enter the country.

South Korea scraps pre-departure Covid tests

Travellers will still be required to take a Covid-19 test within 24 hours of arrival in South Korea.
Travellers will still be required to take a Covid-19 test within 24 hours of arrival in South Korea. Photo Credit: GettyImages/Diversity Studio

International visitors entering South Korea from Saturday, 3 September will not be required to undertake the previously mandated pre-departure Covid-19 test anymore.

Even though South Korea lifted most of its safety regulations in May, the country continued with its stringent border protocols, requiring inbound travellers to present a negative Covid-19 test result before flying in.

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“All inbound travellers, whether our nationals or foreigners, arriving aboard a plane or ship will not need to hand in a negative PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test starting midnight of 3 September,” second vice health minister Lee Ki-il announced in a virus response meeting on Wednesday, 31 August.

This decision was made after the government contemplated the infection rate which showed weekly numbers declining “for the first time in nine weeks, and the virus showing signs of slowing down”.

Covid-19 infections in South Korea are averaging 100,000 daily over the recent weeks after reaching more than 180,000 in mid-August. On Wednesday, South Korea reported 103,961 new Covid-19 infections, including 458 cases from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 23,246,398, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

Though the pre-departure test will soon be dispensed with, travellers will still be required to take a PCR test within 24 hours after touching down in South Korea. This was explained as a “minimum measure” to curb the spread of any overseas variant.

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