The South Korean government is weighing up the possibility of adding Russia to a list of high-risk countries for COVID-19 after clusters of cases were identified onboard Russian vessels that entered the country, domestic media reported on Friday.
“The government will consider designating Russia as a country subject to stricter quarantine steps,” Yoon Tae-ho, a senior South Korean health official, said at a news conference, as quoted by the Yonhap news agency.
According to the agency, at least 32 crew members aboard a Russian-flagged fishing vessel that docked in the city of Busan, tested positive for COVID-19 earlier on Friday.
The Russian consulate general said they were hospitalised there.
Since June, 78 cases of the disease have been confirmed among the crews of eight Russian vessels that docked in South Korea, the agency said.
Should Russia be added to the list of high-risk countries, arrivals will be required to present a certificate proving a negative test for COVID-19.
Currently, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Uzbekistan are on South Korea’s list of high-risk countries, the agency stated.
Since the start of the outbreak, South Korea has registered 13,979 cases of the coronavirus disease that resulted in the deaths of 298 people.
On Friday, the country’s Ministry of Health announced that 41 new positive tests were registered over the preceding 24 hours.