The Korea Times


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Students from 26 countries encouraged to stay home until Korea's vaccination drive picks up

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By Bahk Eun-ji

International students from countries where coronavirus variants are prevalent will be recommended to not come to Korea until Korea's vaccination rate advances, according to the education ministry, Wednesday.

Only 34.9 percent of people here have had at least one vaccine shot as of Tuesday, while 13.6 have been fully vaccinated.

Education Minister Yoo Eun-hae / Yonhap
Education Minister Yoo Eun-hae / Yonhap
As a part of the antivirus measures at schools for the second semester, which starts in September, the ministry said the government and universities will encourage students from 26 countries experiencing serious infection rates of COVID-19 variants, including the Delta variant, to refrain from entering the country until after 70 percent of the local population has had at least one vaccination shot.

The ministry expects the 70 percent goal to be reached by the end of September.

To this end, the ministry plans to provide academic convenience for students from the 26 countries, such as allowing them to take remote classes so that they can keep up with their courses before entering the country.

The 26 countries are South Africa, Malawi, Botswana, Mozambique, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Brazil, Suriname, Paraguay, Chile, Uruguay, the Philippines, India, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Nepal, Russia, Lebanon, Malaysia, Haiti, Angola, Kuwait and Trinidad and Tobago.

However, if overseas students from the listed countries inevitably have to enter earlier, they will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days at temporary care facilities outside their school or dormitory, and the ministry will check their health condition more than twice a day.

"The virus situation has been serious due to the COVID-19 variants, so we ask universities and local governments to work together so that the schools' academic operations can proceed stably in the second semester," Education Minister Yoo Eun-hae said in a statement.

According to the ministry, 33,826 international students entered the country in the first semester, which was only 18 percent of the number in the first semester of 2019.

Of them, 255 were confirmed to have been infected with the virus ― 33 were detected during testing at points of entry, and the rest were confirmed while they were under self-quarantine after entry.

Bahk Eun-ji

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