South Korea expands health screenings, bans travelers from China's Hubei Province, among other measures due to 2019 novel coronavirus.

Severity: Warning Alert

This alert began 06 Feb 2020 09:00 GMT and is scheduled to expire 06 Feb 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Preventative restrictions
  • Location(s): South Korea (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Increased health screenings, immigration delays; possible quarantine

Summary
South Korea has intensified health screenings and expanded restrictions to prevent the spread of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in the country. Seoul has banned all foreign travelers who have visited China's Hubei Province in the past 14 days. South Koreans who traveled to Hubei Province will need to self-quarantine for 14 days. Authorities have also halted visa-free travel to Jeju Island, a popular Chinese tourist destination. Local governments in several parts of the country, including Seoul, have suspended or canceled public events and large gatherings.

Passengers from mainland China will face more intense health screenings at all points of entry. Authorities have established three quarantine areas at Incheon International Airport (ICN), where health officials are conducting enhanced screenings; passengers must receive clearance before they can enter the country. Officials have also increased security at ports and airports across the country. The government has warned that it could further expand transport restrictions for passengers from mainland China depending on the progression of the virus. The measures are unlikely to impact most travelers to South Korea significantly, but immigration and customs delays are likely for passengers from mainland China.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Allow additional time for immigration and health screenings, especially if traveling from China. Consider delaying travel if experiencing symptoms associated with 2019 novel coronavirus, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays and possibly result in quarantine.

Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.