Health Alert: Increase of COVID-19 Cases in the Republic of Korea (ROK)

CDC Website:

As of 5:00pm on February 21, the Korea Center for Disease Control has confirmed 204 positive cases of COVID-19 in the Republic of Korea, including one death.  This is a substantial increase over the past 48 hours largely due to a cluster of cases identified in the city of Daegu, which is located 148 miles south east of Seoul.  Authorities have confirmed that community-based transmission is occurring in Korea. The U.S. Embassy in Seoul continues to closely monitor developments related to COVID-19 in the ROK.

The Department of State also advises U.S. citizens to reconsider travel by cruise ship to or within East Asia and the Asia-Pacific Region. U.S. citizens planning to travel by cruise ship should be aware that, due to the current public health situation, many countries have implemented strict screening procedures in order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.  This is a dynamic situation and U.S. citizens traveling by ship may be impacted by travel restrictions affecting their itineraries or ability to disembark, or may be subject to quarantine procedures implemented by the host country authorities.

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 (in Korean only).

If you are currently in the Korea and believe that you may have symptoms of COVID-19, 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.

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.


  • Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) treatment hotline at 1339 or 1345 (English).
  • Online resources:WHO , CDC, and KCDC.

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