The headquarters affiliated with the Ministry of the Interior and Safety said that the government has decided to scrap the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test requirement as the pandemic situation in China has been stabilized with Chinese arrivals showing a low positive test rate. And no serious variants were found among them.
The decision came after South Korea resumed issuing short-term visas for Chinese travelers starting February 11. China also restarted the issuance of short-term visas for South Koreans on February 18.
However, South Korea will keep the pre-arrival test requirement for travelers from China until March 10 to monitor the effect of the eased restrictions. Then it will decide whether to lift the requirement after conducting a review process.
According to health authorities, 0.6 percent of 12,953 arrivals from China tested positive for COVID-19 in the third week of this month, marking a significant plunge from 18.4 percent in the first week of last month.
An official said that the government is taking a flexible attitude toward the pandemic, saying that some restrictions and test requirements can be lifted or reintroduced depending on the COVID-19 situation.
The issuance of short-term visas and eased COVID-19 restrictions are expected to help increase the number of people traveling each other country.
Seoul plans to hold negotiations with Beijing to discuss a plan to increase the number of flights between the two countries from the current 62 per week to 80 per week by the end of February and 100 per week in March.
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