South Korea Scraps Pre-Travel COVID-19 Tests for Inbound Travelers

By Aldgra Fredly
Aldgra Fredly
Aldgra Fredly
Aldgra Fredly is a freelance writer based in Malaysia, covering Asia Pacific news for The Epoch Times.
August 31, 2022 Updated: August 31, 2022

South Korea announced Wednesday that it will further relax its border measures and lift its pre-travel COVID-19 test requirement for all arrivals beginning in September as the country’s recent outbreak has stabilized.

Second Vice Health Minister Lee Ki-il said that travelers will no longer be required to present a negative test result within 48 hours of departure for their travels into the country, but they will still need to take a COVID-19 test within 24 hours of their arrival.

“All inbound travelers, whether our nationals or foreigners, arriving aboard a plane or ship will not need to hand in a negative PCR test starting midnight of Sept. 3,” Lee said, Yonhap News Agency reported.

The change follows a recommendation from an infectious disease advisory committee that the pre-travel COVID-19 test requirement should be lifted, as the travel industry claimed that it was ineffective at containing the outbreak.

South Korea lifted its quarantine requirement for foreign arrivals regardless of vaccination status in June and scrapped its outdoor mask mandate in May.

Japan made a similar move, lifting its pre-entry COVID-19 test for foreign travelers, but only those who have been vaccinated three times.

Japan has lifted most of its COVID-19 measures, and in June, foreign tourists were once again allowed to visit the country if they were part of a package tour.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said that Japan is considering raising the daily entry cap for foreign travelers, which is presently set at 20,000 people, although he did not specify whether Japan will begin accepting tourists individually.

“We will take into consideration the characteristics of the changing Omicron variant and accelerate efforts to take antivirus measures while keeping social and economic activity going as much as possible,” Kishida said.

Aldgra Fredly is a freelance writer based in Malaysia, covering Asia Pacific news for The Epoch Times.