|A man gets a COVID-19 testing at a makeshift testing site near Seoul Station, Tuesday. Yonhap|
By Lee Hyo-jin
The Seoul Metropolitan Government plans to encourage foreign residents to get tested for COVID-19, as part of the city's efforts to contain the spread of the virus in the capital area.
The city announced a set a measures, Friday, to strengthen monitoring at workplaces involving foreign workers and to encourage some 240,000 expatriates in the greater Seoul area to undergo preemptive virus testing.
The preventive measure follows infection clusters detected recently among foreign workers in Dongducheon and Namyangju in Gyeonggi Province.
Foreign residents in Seoul will be able to be tested free of charge and living expenses will be offered for those placed under self-quarantine.
Undocumented foreigners will be able to be tested without the risk of being arrested or deported, because they will not be required to submit information about their immigration status.
The operating hours of makeshift testing sites in the Guro, Geumcheon, and Yeongdeungpo districts, which have large foreign populations, will be extended by four hours. The sites will be open Sunday morning for those who are unavailable to visit during weekdays.
Also, city officials will visit 3,000 businesses and factories with migrant workers to check for violations of social distancing rules and to inform foreign employees of the free tests.
According to data from the Ministry of Employment and Labor, in Seoul, 6,858 foreign nationals have been hired under the employment permit system to work at 3,796 workplaces in various sectors including the manufacturing, construction and hospitality industries.