South Korea's new quarantine rule may affect VTL with S'pore, while Japan govt stops inbound flight bookings

Additional restrictions by the two East Asian countries.

Sulaiman Daud | December 02, 2021, 12:03 PM

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It is unclear if South Korea's new border restrictions, imposed over concerns about the emerging Omicron variant, will affect the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) it has with Singapore.

On Dec. 2, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) had detected five cases of the Omicron variant in the country, AP reported.

South Korea reported over 5,000 daily Covid-19 cases for the first time on Dec. 1, and 5,266 cases on Dec. 2.

KDCA said all travellers entering the country will be tested for the new variant.

In addition, all arrivals, whether South Koreans and foreigners, will have to quarantine for 10 days regardless of their vaccination status from Dec. 3.

Reuters said on Dec. 2 that it has checked with KDCA, but no decision has yet been made on whether VTL travellers will be subject to this mandatory quarantine rule.

The VTL started from Nov. 15.

Meanwhile, the transportation ministry of its neighbour Japan has imposed even further restrictions, in what it described as an "emergency measure".

Japan has closed its borders to all foreign visitors, effective from Nov. 30.

It also confirmed its first Omicron case on the same day.

Now, according to The Japan TimesJapan has directed airlines to halt reservations for all incoming flights into the country for one month due to concerns over the variant.

This applies to all incoming visitors, even Japanese nationals.

However, people with existing flight reservations will still be allowed to enter.

According to NHK, Japan's two largest airlines, All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines, accepted the ministry's emergency measure.

"New flight reservations have been suspended, but we hope to cooperate with the transportation ministry to allow Japanese nationals to return home," a government official said.

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