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South Korea has been consistently lauded by the international community for its handling of the coronavirus. Their infection and death rates are all the more impressive considering the country’s urban population density and its proximity to where the virus is thought to have originated. While other large governments scrambled to contain the virus and protect their citizens, South Korea executed a coordinated campaign that has seen it suffer some of the lowest rates of any country in the world.
Still, it is best to be mindful of the most up-to-date information regarding the situation in South Korea before filling out a Korean visa application or making further travel arrangements.
Proof of that came in August when COVID-19 cases began to rise again with the oft-mentioned “second wave” of the virus cropping up. This has raised new questions about whether or not South Korea is currently considered a safe place to visit with respect to the virus or if it is better to wait and see how the disease progresses moving forward.
Arriving in South Korea: Do Travelers Have to Quarantine?
The first question that many travelers have to ask while the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage on across the world is if the country they wish to travel to is accepting foreign visitors. The answer to that question for South Korea is, yes, the South Korean government has opened borders and it is accepting tourism once again.
The second question that most travelers want to know the answer to is will travelers who enter into South Korea be required to quarantine upon arrival. The answer to that question is also yes. Each traveler who enters South Korea must quarantine for fourteen days even if they test negative for the coronavirus after stepping foot in the country. This raises the question of whether or not it is worth it to visit the country if travelers will need to spend their first two weeks on isolated lockdown.
What Should I Know Before Traveling to South Korea?
It is crucial for travelers to keep themselves informed about the most current and up to date information regarding anywhere they are traveling. If after weighing the pros and cons travelers decide to visit South Korea, they will find a beautiful country with diverse offerings for visitors looking for an authentic experience.
Even after making the decision to travel, each individual must assess their comfort level in engaging in public activities like sightseeing, which may have them come into contact with the general public. The local government previously decided that even though there may be individuals who are comfortable being in indoor spaces, they would not risk further transmission of the disease by opening museums such as the National Museum of Korea in Seoul.
However, as the summer moved along and the disease was brought under control, they reopened museums albeit with limited entry. With that in mind, it is best to check ahead on the website for the latest information about how many guests are allowed inside any museums or aquariums.
Chuncheon-si is a great place to visit for travelers who are looking for an outdoor escape. While the virus can be transmitted through molecules in the air, scientists currently believe that outdoor spaces pose less of a risk than indoor spaces.
The capital city of Gangwon province is close to Soyangho Lake, which is a popular place to visit the famous cherry blossoms and is also close to hiking trails. Many people consider autumn to be the best time of year to visit Chuncheon-si as the local flora is meant to be particularly beautiful during those months.
Can I Still Travel to South Korea?
In short, yes, it is still possible to travel to South Korea. It is crucial to remember that any ventures into public spaces will heighten the risks of catching the coronavirus. There are no foolproof ways of preventing the contraction of the disease except to eliminate contact with people. Travel only raises the amount of time and the number of people that a person will come into contact with, thereby raising the possibility of coming down with the virus.
With that said, as far as countries and their responses to COVID-19 go, South Korea, in general, does not present a greater risk of exposure to the disease than other countries. In fact, because the country was so proactive in its response to the pandemic, plus the fact that each person must quarantine for two weeks upon arrival, it is one of the safer places to travel to at the moment.