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Taiwanese woman deported for refusing to stay at quarantine facility


A Taiwanese woman has been deported from South Korea after refusing to stay at a quarantine facility, the justice ministry said Monday, reflecting the government's "zero-tolerance" approach against quarantine violators as infections here continue to rise.

The woman, whose identity was withheld, was deported to Taiwan late Sunday after she disagreed with paying expenses to stay at a government-designated quarantine facility, according to the Ministry of Justice.

To contain imported cases, South Korea has imposed a mandatory two-week self-isolation for all international arrivals since Wednesday.

Both Koreans and foreign nationals have to go into self-isolation at their homes or government-designated facilities upon their arrival. Daily prices at the facilities cost around 100,000 won (US$81).

The Taiwanese national arrived at Incheon International Airport on Thursday and was sent to a quarantine facility the next day after agreeing to be quarantined at the facility.

The woman, however, was sent to the immigration office after she refused to pay the expenses.

The ministry approved the deportation based on the judgment that her move was "a refusal of the government's quarantine measures to contain the COVID-19 outbreak," it said.

The decision, the first case in which a foreigner has been deported for refusing to stay at a quarantine facility, is in line with the government's stern stance in dealing with quarantine violators.

The government has repeatedly stressed a "no-tolerance principle" on coronavirus-related measures, such as violating self-isolation rules and hoarding face masks.

Those who violate the two-week isolation or give false information during the quarantine process may face up to 1 year in prison or 10 million won in fines. The justice ministry also said earlier that it may consider deportations and entry bans for visitors and visa cancellations for residents.

Apart from the Taiwanese woman's deportation, 11 foreigners have been denied entry for refusing to undergo mandatory self-isolation.

Some foreigners, including a Briton who allegedly played screen golf and a Pole who made frequent visits outside, both during self-isolation, have been criticized for potentially causing harm to local residents.

The ministry said it plans to question the alleged rule breakers once they are released from hospital after full recovery.

South Korea reported 47 new cases of the new coronavirus Monday, bringing the country's total infections to 10,284. (Yonhap)