Seoul warns criminal action or deportation if overseas arrivals disobey quarantine rule

2020.03.26 12:29:08 | 2020.03.26 12:29:54

South Korea’s Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun (left) speaks video conference with senior officials and heads of local governments during a meeting in Seoul on Mar. 26, 2020. [Photo by Yonhap]이미지 확대

South Korea’s Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun (left) speaks video conference with senior officials and heads of local governments during a meeting in Seoul on Mar. 26, 2020. [Photo by Yonhap]

The South Korea government vowed “zero tolerance” against people violating self-quarantine orders and warned them of criminal action on nationals and deportation for foreign nationals amid rising infections from recent arrivals from the United States and Europe.

“Self-quarantine orders are compulsory by law. Those who disobey without a good reason can face criminal charge in the case for nationals or be expelled in the case of foreigners,” said Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun in an emergency workshop held Thursday morning.

Earlier, Seoul has decided to impose strict airport screening measures on all international arrivals amid a sign of resurgence in COVID-19 cases among those arriving at Korea from overseas. From Friday, everyone arriving from U.S. as well as Europe must be self-isolated for two weeks.

“Those in self-quarantine should be completely in control to stop further contagion and for the sake of the public good,” added Chung, stressing that “None (of them) is allowed to go to groceries or diners during quarantine period.”

Chung noted that close cooperation between the central and the regional governments is the top priority.

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“All arrivals must be notified of self-quarantine rules and offered separate transportation to home or where they stay, to prevent them from using public transportation,” said Chung. “Local governments have to assign an inspector for each of those in self-quarantine to monitor their movements and location with the use of GPS.”

Chung also warned parents about the danger of sending children to private educational institutes. “Staying home with children is desirable until next weekend, if not necessary,” he emphasized. “The education ministry and related departments should check whether the facilities follow the sterilization rules needed.”

The new COVID-19 has infected total 9,137 in Korea as of Thursday morning, up 100 from a day earlier. Of the total, 3,730 have been discharged from hospital after fully recovering from the epidemic, up 223 on day. The rate of full recovery has increased to 40 percent.

By Chung Seul-gi and Lee Ha-yeon

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