Hong Kong to stop all arrivals from South Korea, except returning residents, over Covid-19 fears

The South Korea ban is the first time Hong Kong has placed restrictions on a country beyond China.

Belmont Lay| February 25, 01:48 AM

Hong Kong is halting all arrivals from South Korea except returning city residents from Tuesday, Feb. 25, in response to the growing coronavirus outbreak, the territory's security chief said.

Anyone who has been in South Korea in the last fortnight will be denied entry to the international finance hub, as a result of the new ruling.

Only Hong Kong residents will be allowed to return.

But they will have to undergo a fortnight of medical surveillance.

This is the first time Hong Kong has placed travel restrictions on a country beyond China.

"Considering the development of the epidemic in South Korea, the Security Bureau will issue a red travel alert," John Lee told reporters Monday.

South Korea sees jump in infected cases

South Korea has suddenly become the largest national total outside China, the origin of the Covid-19 disease.

So far, South Korea has confirmed more than 800 cases of the novel coronavirus.

Hong Kong has 79 confirmed cases, two of whom have died.

The city has implemented compulsory quarantine for any arrivals from mainland China, which it shares a busy border with, and where the epidemic is more widespread.

Hong Kong to bring home residents stuck in Wuhan

Hong Kong's government also said on Feb. 24 that it would charter flights to evacuate residents from Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the epidemic began in December 2019.

Hundreds of Hongkongers are still trapped in the city and have been begging for rescue.

Officials said they would prioritise the most vulnerable, such as pregnant women and people needing urgent medical attention.