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S. Korea to tighten quarantine inspections at major airports amid virus resurgence

People pass a COVID-19 testing station for arrivals at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul on June 13. (Yonhap)
People pass a COVID-19 testing station for arrivals at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul on June 13. (Yonhap)

The government will beef up quarantine inspections at major airports as the number of travelers are expected to rise sharply in the summer vacation season amid a new wave of virus resurgence, Interior Minister Lee Sang-min said Friday.

Some 200 quarantine workers will be additionally assigned to Incheon International Airport, the No. 1 gateway to the country, and seven other regional airports in stages to tighten quarantine inspection, the minister said during a government virus response meeting.

"The government will facilitate a safe tourism environment as travel demand is expected to shoot up due to the normalization of international air routes and the peak summer vacation season," Lee noted.

Separately, the government will also assign about 2,500 workers at major tourist areas across the nation to ensure the compliance with antivirus rules and hygiene standards, according to the minister.

Driven by a highly contagious mutation of the omicron strains, BA.5, the nation is facing another virus resurgence.

A day earlier, the government decided to expand eligibility for the fourth COVID-19 vaccine shot to people aged 50 and older as well as people aged 18 and older with underlying health conditions. Previously those aged 60 or over or with an immune disorder were eligible for the fourth dose.

Reservations for the new round of vaccination will start Monday while vaccine shots will be provided starting Aug. 1, according to the government.

The average daily tally of new coronavirus cases reached 29,865 in the week until Friday, nearly doubling from the previous week, it said. (Yonhap)

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