S. Korea to partially lift ban on UK flights from May | Inquirer News

S. Korea to partially lift ban on UK flights from May

/ 01:47 PM April 26, 2021
S. Korea to partially lift ban on UK flights from May

An airport employee attaches a sticker on a passenger for COVID-19 screening at an arrival terminal of Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, last Wednesday. Yonhap via The Korea Herald/Asia News Network

SEOUL — South Korea will lift a ban on direct flights from Britain on a limited basis from next month for the convenience of Korean residents living in the European nation, the transport ministry said Monday.

South Korea has banned passenger flights arriving from Britain since Dec. 23 to block a more transmissible virus variant that was first identified there.


The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said it will allow one direct flight a week by South Korea’s two full-service carriers from Britain for the convenience of Korean residents.

Under the new measures, Korean Air Co. and Asiana Airlines will operate a flight every two weeks on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, the ministry said.


The first fight will be an Asiana Airlines’ flight departing from Heathrow Airport in London on May 9 to Incheon International Airport, South Korea’s main gateway, it noted.

The airlines will be allowed to maintain the occupancy level at less than 60 percent, and 90 percent of the available seats will be offered to Korean nationals, the ministry said.

The recent emergence of several COVID-19 mutations has complicated the global fight against the pandemic because they are more transmissible than the original virus.

A total of 449 COVID-19 variant cases have been reported in the country since October, including 388 from Britain, 51 from South Africa and 10 from Brazil, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

In addition to the three major variant strains, health authorities have identified 321 cases of “emerging” variants of the novel coronavirus since December, which include nine cases of the Indian variant.

The authorities remain vigilant against the possibility that the new variants could spark another uptick in virus cases here, suspending flights from India since Saturday to block mutant cases from the nation.

Since last week, all entrants to South Korea, both foreigners and locals, must take preemptive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests upon their arrival.

The country reported 500 more cases on Monday, raising the total caseload to 119,387, according to the KDCA. Yonhap

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TAGS: Aviation, coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19, South korea, Travel, UK
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