COVID-19 situation in South Korea


UPDATES (16/2/2021): Social distancing Level 2 among the greater Seoul area (Level 1.5 in other regions). Strict ban on private gatherings of five or more people. Cafes, bakeries and restaurants in the greater Seoul can operate until 10pm (No restriction in other regions).


During the COVID-19 pandemic, we must all check the regulations and updates before traveling anywhere. To make things easier and clear for students seeking an opportunity in South Korea these days, we are providing you with the information regarding basic regulations in Korea during COVID-19; given that regulations are subjected to changes depending on the ongoing situation.


ARRIVAL

Firstly, all travelers to South Korea should be aware that there is a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon entry (some universities’ dormitories provide quarantine service), and as of January 8, 2021 travelers must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result issued within 72 hours of their departure. Also, regardless of your visa type, all travelers will be tested for COVID-19 during the first 24 hours of quarantine. If you have fever or any symptoms, you may be tested at the airport and you must stay in the airport, or the place organized by airport quarantine service until you receive your result and if it is negative then you can move to your designated quarantine place.


Moreover, all passengers arriving from overseas should report a valid address of stay (for quarantine), a valid phone number which works in Korea (could be of a friend or of the person in charge in your university) and install “self-diagnosis APP”. It is mandatory to use self-diagnosis APP during your quarantine period and submit your temperature or if you have any symptoms, daily.


SOCIAL DISTANCING LEVELS

Aiming to control the spread of COVID-19, the government has set up a five-level scheme for social distancing. (Again, we remind that the government may change these measures according to the situation).


Level 1


(Average of daily confirmed cases per week in Seoul metropolitan region below 100)

Measures: Daily disinfection and social distancing, and attendance of up to 2/3 students is recommended at schools.


Level 1.5


Average of daily confirmed cases per week in Seoul metropolitan region equal to or over 100.

Measures: No gatherings of 100 or more participants for festivals etc. And attendance of up to 2/3 students only at schools.


Level 2


Number of national daily confirmed cases surpasses 300 for 7 days or longer.

Measures: To-go and delivery only for restaurants and cafes after 9 pm (1 person every 8 sq mts. before 9 pm), No operations after 9 pm for gyms and attendance of up to 1/3 students only at schools.


Level 2.5


Average of daily confirmed cases per week peaks to or over 400~500 OR Doubling or sudden increase in confirmed cases during Level 2.

Measures: Stay at home if possible and refrain from outings and using public facilities, remote working for 1/3 of employees recommended, limitation in reservations to 50% for KTX and express bus recommended (except for flights). To-go and delivery only for restaurants and cafes after 9 pm (1 person every 8 sq mts. before 9 pm). Attendance of 1/3 of students only at schools and no operation after 9 pm for private educational institutions.


Level 3


Average of daily confirmed cases hits 800~1,000 or over OR Doubling or sudden increase in confirmed cases during Level 2.5.

Measures: National epidemic, stay at home, minimize contact with others, mandatory remote working except for essential workers defined by each organization, booking limited to 50% for KTX and express bus (except for flights), To-go and delivery only for restaurants and cafes after 9 pm (1 person every sq mts. before 9 pm), operations not allowed for gyms and private educational institutions, online schools.


WHAT HAPPENS IF I TESTED POSITIVE?

South Korea is one of the countries where they carry out thousands of tests a day. Thus, their confirmed cases reports are more likely to be accurate. If you have any symptoms or if you have met a confirmed case or if you just want to check, you may call 1339 (call center) to search for the closest screening station. You can also search “COVID-19 screening station” in applications such as KAKAO Map to get directions to the closest screening station. You do not have to pay for your test.


Confirmed corona cases in South Korea are transferred to a hospital or residential treatment centers. If the person is tested positive with no symptoms and there is no possibility to stay at home, they will contact the person and he/she will be transferred to a residential treatment center. If he or she is tested positive with symptoms, he/she will be transferred to a hospital and will receive the needed care. Until now, South Korea has been providing free medical services to all COVID-19 patients reported in the country, including foreigners.


Writen by: Yomna Mostafa

Designed by: Minh Tran

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