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South Korea lifts PCR testing for inbound travelers beginning October 1

By Harold Lemon Tubiano Published Sep 30, 2022 3:46 pm Updated Oct 07, 2022 5:36 pm

The Republic of Korea is finally lifting restrictions on PCR testing for foreign travelers and returning residents effective on October 1.  

The government announced that the post-arrival COVID-19 requirement will be no longer required as the country has seen a recent gradual decline in infections. 

"The weekly number of infections has declined for the first time in nine weeks and the virus is showing signs of slowing down," Second Vice Health Minister Lee Ki-il said during a press briefing on Friday.  

According to the South Korea Ministry of Health and Welfare, travelers who show symptoms within three days of arrival can get a free PCR test at the public health centers. 

Before the announcement, incoming visitors are mandated to undergo the PCR test within the first 24 hours of their arrival in the country. The lift has seen a cost-saving benefit for foreigners as the on-arrival testing ranges around $68 - $84 (P3,981 to P4,918) in price. 

"We are at the final stage of the COVID-19 pandemic. We expect another wave in winter, but we will finally overcome the virus through thorough preparations," he added.  

The country, however, could still reinforce restrictions on foreign entrants if it sees the emergence of new risky COVID-19 variants and the global virus situation changes. 

In June, South Korea removed its vaccination and quarantine requirements for travelers outside the country.