RESTRICTED Prime Minister Han Duck-soo presides over a meeting tackling measures against coronavirus disease on Friday (Dec. 30, 2022). Han said South Korea would require travelers coming from China to show negative COVID-19 tests amid the spiking number of infections in the eastern Asian country. (Yonhap)

SEOUL – South Korea has joined other nations in imposing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) restrictions on travelers from China as the east Asian country battles a fresh surge of infections.

Prime Minister Han Duck-soo said Friday that South Korea would require COVID-19 tests, visa restrictions, and limited flights to avoid the spread of the new coronavirus variant from China.

Italy, Japan, India and the United States have earlier announced that they were imposing restrictions on travelers from China as COVID-19 situation there worsens.

Han said they would require those entering from China to undergo a COVID test before and after their arrival.

They will be required to provide a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours before boarding a plane to South Korea or a negative antigen test within 24 hours before departure, Han said.

They would also have to undergo another test within the first day of their arrival, the official added.

By the end of February next year, all arrivals from China will be required to show either a negative PCR or antigen test for the coronavirus before boarding flights to South Korea, Han said.

"The government inevitably strengthens some anti-epidemic measures to prevent the spread at home because of the worsening COVID-19 situation in China," Han told a response meeting.

South Korea will also restrict issuing short-term visas for Chinese nationals, excluding diplomats, public officials, essential business and humanitarian purposes, Han said. The visa restriction will be applied by the end of January.

In addition, South Korea will temporarily stop expanding flights to China, and all flights from China will be required to arrive at Incheon International Airport for proper containment management, Han added. (Yonhap)