China to require arrivals from S. Korea to take PCR test

China will start requiring on Wednesday all visitors on direct flights from South Korea to take a PCR test upon arrival and will quarantine those testing positive for COVID-19, the South Korean Embassy in Beijing said Tuesday.

The measure, notified to the embassy by the Chinese government, is a stronger retaliatory step against the neighboring country, which extended its restrictions on issuing short-term visas for travelers from China through Feb. 28.

The embassy said details of quarantine measures for those testing positive, such as duration and costs, and when they will be terminated, remain unclear.

South Korea, Japan and several other countries have strengthened border controls for travelers from China, which reopened its borders and scrapped quarantine measures on Jan. 8 amid fears over widespread COVID-19 infections in the country.

On Jan. 10, Beijing halted visa issuances for Japanese and South Korean travelers, criticizing the entry restrictions on visitors from China as "discriminatory." But visa restrictions on Japanese citizens were lifted Sunday.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning expressed regret at a press conference Tuesday that some countries still adopt discriminatory entry restrictions against travelers from China.

"China firmly opposes this and has reasons to take necessary reciprocal measures," she said.

© Kyodo News