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Ministry official hints at possibility of imposing quarantine costs for arrivals from overseas


A foreign ministry official on Monday left open the possibility of a change in South Korea's policy to shoulder all coronavirus quarantine costs for people flying from overseas, as more countries quarantine inbound travelers at their own expense.

The South Korean government has so far covered all the costs of its beefed-up quarantine program for both citizens and foreigners, fueling criticism that the efforts to curb imported infections could chip away at state coffers.

"We are closely monitoring the trends (in foreign countries) and situations, and I think we will have to determine our basic position based on our reading of the situations," the official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

"Currently, cases of Chinese authorities quarantining people at their own expense have been on the rise, and we have seen such cases in other countries as well," he added.

Many of the 26 Chinese cities and provinces with quarantine programs in place for arrivals from overseas have demanded that the arrivals pay their own expenses.

Hawaii, the US Pacific island state, also plans to enforce a 14-day quarantine for people flying in from outside at their own cost. (Yonhap)