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South Korea to restrict visas, flights from Pakistan, Bangladesh

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SEOUL

The South Korean government said Sunday that it will strengthen visa and entry restrictions for those from Pakistan and Bangladesh from this week, as the country has recently reported a surge in novel coronavirus cases imported from the two nations.

Under the precautionary measures, set to take effect from Tuesday, the authorities will restrict issuing visas to people from Pakistan and Bangladesh, except for diplomatic and urgent business purposes. At the same time, they will temporarily not permit non-scheduled flights between South Korea and those countries.

Moreover, the government will thoroughly check if foreigners with non-professional employment (E-9) visas have places for a two-week self-quarantine in South Korea before arrival. Those who do not secure proper facilities will be banned from entering the country.

The toughened entry restrictions came as South Korea has faced a steep curve of new coronavirus cases from overseas in June.

The number of imported COVID-19 cases reached 13 on June 12 and a 68-day high of 17 on Friday.

The daily number of foreign arrivals also rose to 1,300 in recent days, up from around 1,000 per day in April, according to the government.

“Those imported cases are from countries that recently experienced widespread infections,” Health Minister Park Neung-hoo said in a press briefing. “A rise in imported cases places a burden on our quarantine and treatment capabilities.”

South Korea has been struggling with a resurgence of new coronavirus infections in Seoul and the surrounding areas. It reported 48 new cases of the coronavirus Sunday, including eight imported cases, with the cumulative number reaching 12,421.

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