Covid-19: South Korea lifts visa curbs on Chinese travellers

SEOUL: South Korea plans to resume issuing short-term visas for travellers from China on Saturday after China improved its Covid-19 situation, Seoul officials said on Friday.

South Korea suspended issuing short-term visas to Chinese visitors last month after China abruptly ended its "zero-Covid" policy, leading to a wave of infections. Beijing retaliated by halting short-term visas for South Korean travellers.

Kim Sung-ho, South Korea's vice interior minister in charge of disaster and safety management, said the government had decided to restart the visa issuance after the number of infections among Chinese arrivals dropped significantly, and new strains of the virus have not emerged.

South Korea's prime minister, Han Duck-soo, last week hinted at lifting restrictions before the end of February if China's Covid situation became "manageable."

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said the lifting of visa restrictions was "a step in the right direction."

"China will actively consider the resumption of short-term visas for South Korean citizens on a reciprocal basis. We hope that the Republic of Korea will work with China to create more convenience for the normal flow of people between the two sides," she said at a regular briefing.--REUTERS

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