S. Korea to partially lift ban on UK flights from May
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
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.