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The South Korea COVID-19 thread

The South Korea COVID-19 thread

Old Jun 12, 21, 5:42 pm
  #46  
 
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Originally Posted by Braswch View Post
Well... We are going on Friday. Who knows maybe we'll get surprised....., but seems earliest might be July.
So... No surprises. We're fully vaccinated, they've announced in July you can go outside without a mask if you are vaccinated, but you still have to quarantine for 14 days if you didn't get your vaccine IN KOREA.
At least in our case we have relatives in Korea so we can stay with them for 14 days instead of in a government chosen hotel. Below is my experience. I assume if you are going to a government chosen hotel it would be different as they don't have to verify relations with documents etc.
When we arrived at Incheon it was a 5 step / 5-stop process for a total of 2 hours from walking off the plane to getting in the taxi. We were some of the first off the plane and even though there were lines, it was never crowded.

The first stop, the normal "quarantine" stop which is where pre-COVID they really didn't do much other than having a temperature camera kind of looking at the crowds. This was where your PCR test results are examined. They went through and reviewed and asked about everything, but their responsibility was verifying the COVID negative PCR test. I felt sorry for another passenger on the other side as I could clearly hear the Korean agent say to her in English, "Since you only got an antigen test before you left, you can't get a PCR test in Korea, So you have to go back." I wonder who messed up and let her get on the plane. Just shows you with all the complexity and changes you can't rely on the airline to make sure you are doing it right.

Then on the way to the next stop we were stopped to make sure we had the quarantine app installed and setup. (Ordering Korean SIMs ahead of time and swapping them on the plane worked out well). These guys were particularly helpful and really kind.
Then we went to the first stop where we sat down with the agents behind plexiglass on the other side of a table. We presented all our documents again and they made a phone call to our relatives to confirm they were expecting us. I thought it was interesting that there were a lot of signs at this point that basically was saying "if you yell scream or are rude to our agents you will be fined and go to jail, we are here to help, so be nice." LOL
Then we got in line for the next stop which was the traditional immigration stop just before you go down to baggage claim. It was here where the nice lady thought it would be efficient to split up our family to make things move faster. Since we were one family and had to prove our relations etc. this actually complicated things, but it all went ok in the end. It was here where they put around your neck a color-coded card. Ours were a maroon. I saw a lot of yellow, which I think was those going to the government chosen hotels.
After this stop instead of walking through and down to immigration, they have you come back out the way you came and you walk down to the other end and wait in line again. This time for whatever reason the line had chairs to sit in. At the end of this line depending on when it was your turn you either went to one of two normal immigration booths just like the prior step or into the office where there were 3-4 other places to sit down in front of an agent behind plexiglass.
Assuming all checks out here they retrieve your colored-coded cards from your neck. So my kids were retrieved, but for me, they said I needed to be verified "downstairs."
We then finally got out to baggage claim. Our Korean citizen friends we traveled with had been waiting with our bags for probably an hour as they went through much quicker on the "Korean Citizen" side.
So I went to pull out the Customs form I'd filled out for the family and realized one of the previous 4 agents must have removed it from my passport. So I went over and filled out a new one and then we exited baggage claim.
As we came out the door we were moved to the side since I still have the color-coded card. After being "verified" We were "through."
The next stop was to chose our mode of transportation. We chose and then the driver was there seconds later taking us to the car.
Before we even got into the car the government agents were calling us to confirm we understood everything about our quarantine etc.
I thought it was funny they asked, "Are you vaccinated? Yes. And the kids too? Yes? Are you sure the kids are? Yes, I have the CDC Vaccine cards."
I felt instead like saying, "oh, so if we are fully vaccinated we don't have to quarantine? NO. Ok, then WHY DID YOU ASK??" But no I didn't say that.
Our driver actually didn't go the most efficient way because we were on the phone with the government agent for a while before he was able to confirm the address.... lol con

Post Quarantine we're considering flying to Jeju from Kimpo. Does anyone know what our experience would be with this domestic flight given that we'll be out of quarantine?

Thansk!
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Old Jun 12, 21, 11:43 pm
  #47  
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
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Originally Posted by Braswch View Post
So... No surprises. We're fully vaccinated, they've announced in July you can go outside without a mask if you are vaccinated, but you still have to quarantine for 14 days if you didn't get your vaccine IN KOREA.
At least in our case we have relatives in Korea so we can stay with them for 14 days instead of in a government chosen hotel. Below is my experience. I assume if you are going to a government chosen hotel it would be different as they don't have to verify relations with documents etc.
When we arrived at Incheon it was a 5 step / 5-stop process for a total of 2 hours from walking off the plane to getting in the taxi. We were some of the first off the plane and even though there were lines, it was never crowded.

The first stop, the normal "quarantine" stop which is where pre-COVID they really didn't do much other than having a temperature camera kind of looking at the crowds. This was where your PCR test results are examined. They went through and reviewed and asked about everything, but their responsibility was verifying the COVID negative PCR test. I felt sorry for another passenger on the other side as I could clearly hear the Korean agent say to her in English, "Since you only got an antigen test before you left, you can't get a PCR test in Korea, So you have to go back." I wonder who messed up and let her get on the plane. Just shows you with all the complexity and changes you can't rely on the airline to make sure you are doing it right.

Then on the way to the next stop we were stopped to make sure we had the quarantine app installed and setup. (Ordering Korean SIMs ahead of time and swapping them on the plane worked out well). These guys were particularly helpful and really kind.
Then we went to the first stop where we sat down with the agents behind plexiglass on the other side of a table. We presented all our documents again and they made a phone call to our relatives to confirm they were expecting us. I thought it was interesting that there were a lot of signs at this point that basically was saying "if you yell scream or are rude to our agents you will be fined and go to jail, we are here to help, so be nice." LOL
Then we got in line for the next stop which was the traditional immigration stop just before you go down to baggage claim. It was here where the nice lady thought it would be efficient to split up our family to make things move faster. Since we were one family and had to prove our relations etc. this actually complicated things, but it all went ok in the end. It was here where they put around your neck a color-coded card. Ours were a maroon. I saw a lot of yellow, which I think was those going to the government chosen hotels.
After this stop instead of walking through and down to immigration, they have you come back out the way you came and you walk down to the other end and wait in line again. This time for whatever reason the line had chairs to sit in. At the end of this line depending on when it was your turn you either went to one of two normal immigration booths just like the prior step or into the office where there were 3-4 other places to sit down in front of an agent behind plexiglass.
Assuming all checks out here they retrieve your colored-coded cards from your neck. So my kids were retrieved, but for me, they said I needed to be verified "downstairs."
We then finally got out to baggage claim. Our Korean citizen friends we traveled with had been waiting with our bags for probably an hour as they went through much quicker on the "Korean Citizen" side.
So I went to pull out the Customs form I'd filled out for the family and realized one of the previous 4 agents must have removed it from my passport. So I went over and filled out a new one and then we exited baggage claim.
As we came out the door we were moved to the side since I still have the color-coded card. After being "verified" We were "through."
The next stop was to chose our mode of transportation. We chose and then the driver was there seconds later taking us to the car.
Before we even got into the car the government agents were calling us to confirm we understood everything about our quarantine etc.
I thought it was funny they asked, "Are you vaccinated? Yes. And the kids too? Yes? Are you sure the kids are? Yes, I have the CDC Vaccine cards."
I felt instead like saying, "oh, so if we are fully vaccinated we don't have to quarantine? NO. Ok, then WHY DID YOU ASK??" But no I didn't say that.
Our driver actually didn't go the most efficient way because we were on the phone with the government agent for a while before he was able to confirm the address.... lol con

Post Quarantine we're considering flying to Jeju from Kimpo. Does anyone know what our experience would be with this domestic flight given that we'll be out of quarantine?

Thansk!
Good luck with quarantine! When you are free - that's it - you're free. I flew to Jeju last month. LITERALLY NOTHING. Airport crowded and busy. Just wear a mask. Normal check in procedures, they don't ask anything! Wear a mask on the plane, no drink service though. Very normal. It's an amazing feeling once you're free. Be so happy you're at a house where you can get deliveries and open the windows and doors haha (I did quarantine in Sept 2020 in my tiny officetel just stayed staring out the window)!
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Old Jun 13, 21, 2:38 am
  #48  
 
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If I'm reading news reports correctly. From July 1st vaccinated foreigners will be exempt from quarantine.
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Old Jun 13, 21, 9:36 am
  #49  
 
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South Korea to exempt some people vaccinated overseas from COVID-19 quarantine

Originally Posted by Braswch View Post
If I'm reading news reports correctly. From July 1st vaccinated foreigners will be exempt from quarantine.
https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news...ntine-15005598
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Old Jun 13, 21, 11:46 am
  #50  
 
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Hello ! Did you get details on what would happen for Kids between 6 and 12 ? Looks like Kids below 6 can go with vaccinated parents... Kids above 12 can get vaccine in some countries but cant find the info about kids 6 to 12 :/ thanks in advance if you have any info!
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Old Jun 13, 21, 11:53 am
  #51  
 
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Originally Posted by Lmqt View Post
Hello ! Did you get details on what would happen for Kids between 6 and 12 ? Looks like Kids below 6 can go with vaccinated parents... Kids above 12 can get vaccine in some countries but cant find the info about kids 6 to 12 :/ thanks in advance if you have any info!
That's a very interesting scenario. btw, where did you see 6 and under can be with their vaccinated non-quarantining parents?
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Old Jun 13, 21, 12:09 pm
  #52  
 
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On ambassy and also it looks like it was alread the case till now (kids below 6 are qualifying for quarantine exception)
my wife now found a message on official site sayng kids between 6 and 18 without vaccine need to quarantine... I hope this is wrong but my hopes are low as it was on the Korean ambassy in France page. (Annoying when your kid is 6 like ours ... hum)
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Old Jun 14, 21, 6:16 pm
  #53  
 
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family exemption

The Family you are visiting has to be a verticle relationship, parent, grand parent, etc, or child, grand child, etc. Or it can be a spouse relationship. So if your spouse parents live in Korea for example, your whole family can get the exemption. You have to apply for it in the US at the Korean embassy/consulate.
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Old Jun 18, 21, 6:22 pm
  #54  
 
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depart middle of quarantine

Someone asked me about this. Does anyone know if there's a Korean policy related to this? Meaning if you are in the middle of your 14 day quarantine and for some reason you need to or decide you need to depart Korea to go back, is that possible and how would you go about doing that?
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Old Jul 3, 21, 11:22 pm
  #55  
 
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Any experiences here applying for the quarantine exemption? Looks like every consulate has their idiosyncratic rules for how to apply, what you need to provide and when.

On a separate note, is the K-ETA actually mandatory now? I heard some people say you must have it to enter, others are saying it's still the trial phase and they don't really care.
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Old Jul 4, 21, 12:57 am
  #56  
 
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Originally Posted by jjangoo View Post
On a separate note, is the K-ETA actually mandatory now? I heard some people say you must have it to enter, others are saying it's still the trial phase and they don't really care.
I entered with the K ETA, Or whatever its called. It says optional till September I believe. But it is supposed to replace the arival card you usually have to fill out. so we didn't fill out an arrival card.
It was the piece of paper they were clearly least concerned about. It does say it lasts two years and after September you'll have to pay so it seems perhaps theoreticaly doing it now means you don't have to pay till two years.
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Old Jul 4, 21, 8:26 pm
  #57  
 
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Originally Posted by jjangoo View Post
Any experiences here applying for the quarantine exemption? Looks like every consulate has their idiosyncratic rules for how to apply, what you need to provide and when.

On a separate note, is the K-ETA actually mandatory now? I heard some people say you must have it to enter, others are saying it's still the trial phase and they don't really care.
They have an official website with a big notice at the top https://www.k-eta.go.kr/portal/board...tmpltNm=notice

And re: exemption, not many yet are doing it - and even then bc each consulate/embassy has their own system, might be hard to find someone in your exact same area that's done it.
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Old Sep 2, 21, 2:36 pm
  #58  
 
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Experience with the Family Quarantine Exemption:

I'm a US citizen in Chicago, my father is a Korean citizen in Seoul, I haven't seen him since Dec 2019, and he recently had surgery. So when the Exemption process was announced, I decided to take advantage of that and planned a trip to see him in October. Then the Delta variant happened. Now, as of today, South Korea hasn't changed its policy on letting US citizens in on a quarantine exemption to see family, but the application process also makes it clear that they reserve the right to change their minds. So concerned that by October the quarantine exemption will be a thing of the past, at least for US citizens, I pushed up my visit to last week.

A. Getting the Exemption

US citizens apply for the exemption through their regional South Korean consulate/embassy. As mikesaidyes noted, each one has slightly different rules, so you need to check your consulate's website for their instructions. A comparison of the DC embassy, San Francisco consulate, and Chicago consulate websites is interesting: some allow exemption applications via email, but Chicago's only allow applications either in-person in their office or through the Consulate 24 website where the application is only available in Korean (there is an English version of the site, but it's totally useless). Chicago's website is also imprecise on instructions, so it took me two visits to get the proper paperwork submitted. Once they accepted my application, the exemption was emailed to me within 2 days. Instructions with the exemption said to take FOUR hard copies of the exemption with me. I needed all four. (In fact, I printed six copies just in case.)

B. Pre-arrival

For ease, I decided to fly directly from the US to Seoul. I have no idea if there are any issues with connecting in a foreign country. All I needed to do was get a RT PCR test within 72 hours of departure and print a hardcopy of the negative, stamped test result. I couldn't check into my flight online because the ticket agent at ORD needed to confirm that I had a printout and that it contained the necessary information. Since I was told to take four copies of the exemption, I also printed four copies of the test results. I also got a K-ETA in advance and printed that out too (four times).

C. Arrival

With the exemption in hand, arrival was a breeze. As Braswch noted, there are multiple steps.

1. the health check: temperature taken, PCR test results and first copy of the exemption submitted. Passengers were divided here: foreign passports in one line, Korean passports in another line. I think there was a flight crew and a military line too. Very quick for me (I was in business class, packed light, walked fast, and was second in the foreign passport line).

2. an area where someone helped you download the self-reporting health app: I was required to report my health status twice a day during my visit using this app (which also tracked me). NOTE: this is NOT the same as the quarantine app (which I had downloaded prior to arrival, trying to be prepared.) I had paid for T-Mobile's International Pass for faster speeds, but the staff in this area helped me connect to wi-fi to speed up the download.

3. sitting down with someone at a table (divided from them with plexiglass) where they confirmed my mobile phone number, finalized the installation of the self-reporting health app, and I submitted my second copy of the exemption.

4. An area that I think was called "Issue documents" (my memory on this one is fuzzy). Submitted a health form (that was given to me and that I completed on the plane), my third copy of the quarantine exemption, showed them my phone so they could confirm (again) that I had the necessary app installed. I also handed over a copy of the PCR test results and the K-ETA, but I don't remember if they asked for it or if I just handed them everything just in case.

5. Passport control: pretty normal. Swipe of my passport, submitted my fourth copy of the exemption and a copy of the K-ETA, and was allowed to continue on to baggage claim (where I didn't have any baggage to claim).

6. Baggage and customs: handed in my customs form (also given to me on the plane, where I had completed it in advance) and, having nothing to declare, walked out to the AREX train station.

Total time from leaving the plane to exiting the airport: about 1-1.5 hour.

While in the country, I submitted my health status using the app twice a day. Leaving the country was relatively straightforward too: I had an antigen test the night before I left, checked into my flight the night before using the Verifly app, had my hotel's front desk print out the negative test result (just in case), and no questions or issues at security or passport control. There wasn't even secondary screening at the gate!

All in all, my experience entering and leaving South Korea was remarkably smooth. I hope I get to do it again in October.
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Old Sep 16, 21, 4:51 pm
  #59  
 
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I thought there was also a requirement for a COVID test on arrival ? Is that not the case ?
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Old Sep 17, 21, 1:31 am
  #60  
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
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Originally Posted by Braniff View Post
I thought there was also a requirement for a COVID test on arrival ? Is that not the case ?
Not at all - only if you are showing symptoms like high temperature OR for people from certain countries they deem high risk.
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