South Korea expands screenings to passengers from Hong Kong and Macau, Feb. 12. Ban on travelers from China's Hubei Province in effect.

Severity: Warning Alert

This alert affects South Korea

This alert began 13 Feb 2020 06:36 GMT and is scheduled to expire 02 Mar 2020 23:59 GMT.

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

Summary
South Korean officials expanded intensified health screenings to passengers from Hong Kong and Macau as of Feb. 12 to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2 (previously known as 2019-nCoV) in the country. Passengers from mainland China have been undergoing intensified screening measures at all points of entry. 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 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. Authorities have also halted visa-free travel to Jeju Island, a popular Chinese tourist destination. The measures are unlikely to impact most travelers to South Korea significantly, but immigration and customs delays are likely for passengers from Greater China.

Local governments in several parts of the country, including Seoul, have suspended or canceled public events and large gatherings. Officials have also increased security at ports and airports across the country. As of Feb. 10, the government has temporarily banned cruise ships from docking at ports in the country, including in Jeju. Several South Korean airlines, including Korean Air (KE) and Asiana Airlines (OZ), have suspended routes to destinations in mainland China and reduced flights on others through late March amid decreased demand. Further transport restrictions and flight disruptions are possible.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Allow additional time for immigration and health screenings, especially if traveling from Greater China. Consider delaying travel if experiencing symptoms associated with Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), 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.

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