Health and Travel Alert: Increased Korean Government Screenings for Coronavirus

CDC Website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

February 13, 2020

U.S. citizens who visit the Republic of Korea (ROK) may experience increased health screenings and delays in accessing routine health care while traveling in-country due to COVID-19 (coronavirus) concerns.  Before you travel to the ROK, visit the Korea Immigration Service website for the latest information on ROK entry restrictions.  The Korean government also posts daily updates on the response to COVID-19 at the website of the Ministry of Health and Welfare (Korean only).

In addition to a ROK “refrain from traveling” alert regarding China, Hong Kong, and Macau, the Korean government has recommended that their citizens defer all non-essential travel to nearby countries that are experiencing community-spread infections of COVID-19, which currently includes: Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.  U.S. travelers may experience health screenings and problems scheduling routine medical care as a result of recent travel to the countries noted above.  If you are currently in the ROK and a Korean medical facility has refused to accept you for treatment, please call the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) treatment hotline at 1339 or 1345 (English) to be directed to an appropriate facility.

For current information and guidance regarding this disease outbreak, U.S. citizens in Korea are advised to consult the WHO , CDC, and KCDC websites.  If you are currently in the ROK and are concerned that you may have symptoms or exposure to COVID-19, please call the KCDC hotline at 1339 or 1345 (English).

Actions to Take:

  • Consult the CDC website, for the most up-to-date health information.
  • Check with the airlines regarding any flight cancellations and/or restrictions on flying.  Be aware that airline schedules are changing rapidly.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Seek medical care right away if you feel sick or were exposed to someone who has a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing.  In Korea, call 1345 to seek appropriate medical care for your situation.

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