Zero Chinese nationals enter, depart Korea Saturday

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Zero Chinese nationals enter, depart Korea Saturday

The number of Chinese travelers arriving to or departing from Korea plummeted to zero on Saturday, the Ministry of Justice said Monday.
It marked the first time that Chinese nationals stopped traveling to and from Korea since the two nations established diplomatic relations in August 1992. The unprecedented statistics come as the two countries continue their battles against the coronavirus pandemic.

The ministry’s statistics showed that no Chinese nationals entered Korea from China or departed Korea to enter China for 24 hours on Saturday. The data included airline crew members.

Last week, the number of Chinese travelers entering Korea was the highest on March 29, at 464. The number steadily dropped to record zero on Saturday. During the same period, the number of Chinese nationals leaving Korea to China was the highest on Wednesday, recording 175. On Saturday, no Chinese traveler left Korea to return home.

Before the new coronavirus outbreak hit Korea, an average of 15,000 Chinese travelers entered Korea in January. A daily average number of 18,000 Chinese travelers departed Korea to enter China during the same period.

Last week, the number of Koreans traveling to and from China was also significantly reduced. On Saturday, 49 travelers from China entered Korea, and 37 of them were Koreans. On the same day, 70 people departed from Korea to China, 27 of which were Korean. The rest were foreign nationals, not including Chinese citizens.

While Korea did not completely stop travelers from China, the government imposed a limited ban on Feb. 4. At the time, the government banned Chinese nationals holding passports from Hubei Province, the epicenter of the initial outbreak, from entering the country. About 80,000 visas issued by the Korean Consulate in Wuhan, Hubei Province, were invalidated.

BY SER MYO-JA [ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr]

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