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Press Release

(4.1) Regular Briefing of Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters on COVID-19

  • Date : 2020-04-03
  • Hit : 1965

(4.1) Regular Briefing of Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters on COVID-19

- ▲Action plan to enhance infection prevention and control of entrants from abroad, and ▲current status of and plan for supporting overseas Koreans to return to home country, etc. -

□ The Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters held a meeting today presided over by Head Chung Sekyun (Prime Minister) along with the central government and 17 cities and provinces to discuss ▲action plan to enhance infection prevention and control of entrants from abroad, and ▲current status of and plan for supporting overseas Koreans to return to home country, and etc. at the Central Disaster and Safety Management Center in Government Complex Seoul.
□ Head Chung requested, at the meeting, each ministry and the local governments to put efforts to make sure self-quarantine for all entrants from abroad which started from today is effectively implemented, and to ensure there is no blind spot in installation of the self-quarantine app.

○ The Prime Minister said that he is fully aware that parents and teachers are greatly concerned about school opening with online classes, and directed the Ministry of Education to thoroughly prepare for the opening on April 9 and provide detailed explanation on preparation progress and how to provide classes to earn public consensus.


1. Action plan to enhance infection prevention and control of entrants from abroad


□ The Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters reviewed the preparation status as the measures to enhance management of overseas entrants started to be applied from 00:00 April 1 and onward.

○ From today, ① all arrivals from abroad should go into self-quarantine for 14 days in principle, ② short-term foreign travelers should go into quarantine in facilities, and ③ expenses from using such facilities will be collected from users.

- However, if foreign nationals who are short-term visit the nation for exceptional reasons, such as for national or public interest, they go through diagnostic tests and, then, the enhanced active surveillance instead of isolation.
□ (Pre-announcement) With the introduction of the new enhanced measures, entrants from abroad are notified at airports of the quarantine procedure they should go through upon entry to Korea by airlines before taking on planes. In particular, foreign nationals for short-term stay are asked to submit the letter of intent for facility quarantine.

□ (Subject classification) Based on their symptoms (whether to have them), residency status and others, arrivals are classified into subjects for self-quarantine, facility quarantine, or active surveillance at the quarantine stage after entering the country.

○ (Quarantine order) In accordance with the Quarantine Act, the Director of the Quarantine Station issues an isolation notice to quarantine subjects. A city or district mayor additionally issues an isolation notice to self-quarantine subjects living in his/her jurisdiction after they return to their homes in pursuant to the Infectious Disease Control and Prevention Act.

- If people coming from abroad do not comply with quarantine rules, they can be punished by imprisonment for no more than 1 year or by a fine not exceeding KRW 10 million (to be effective from Apr. 5) on the ground of violating the Quarantine Act, and the Infectious Disease Control and Prevention Act*. Foreign violators can be subject to deportation, prohibition of entry, and others in accordance with the Immigration Act**.

* Article 16, 17 and 39 of the Quarantine Act, article 49.1 and 79.3 of the Infectious Disease Control and Prevention Act
** Article 11 and 46 of the Immigration Act
○ (Diagnostic test) Those with symptoms identified at the quarantine stage should take the diagnostic tests at an open screening clinic installed in airport, and then go into self- or facility isolation or be under the active surveillance.

○ (Installation of Self-Diagnosis Mobile App and Self-Quarantine Safety Protection App) To more efficiently manage quarantine subjects, people coming from foreign countries are asked to install the self-diagnosis mobile app and self-quarantine safety protection app to monitor if they comply with isolation rules or they have any symptom.

□ (Transport support) Transport support is provided for quarantine subjects to stop infection. Using a personal vehicle is highly recommended when returning home but in case it is not available, subjects should use the designated airport limousine buses or KTX cars which overseas entrants exclusively use.

ㅇ From regional centers, they should use their personal vehicles or other modes of transportation prepared by the local governments to return home.

□ (Assigning the confirmed cases) Among the confirmed cases identified at the quarantine stage, those with high-risk or in serious conditions are to be assigned to the National Medical Center.

ㅇ Koreans confirmed to have COVID-19 are to be assigned to the specialized infectious disease hospitals within cities or provinces, or Ansan community treatment center while the confirmed foreigners to Paju community treatment center.

□ (Operation of quarantine facilities) For facility quarantine subjects, the authorities operate 9 temporary living facilities already secured as isolation places for short-term visitors, in parallel. In response to possible lack of facilities, they plan to additionally mobilize private hotels.

ㅇ Given that the entry to Korea is a personal choice, quarantine subjects should use facilities at their own expenses to induce reduction in new arrivals. Expenses collected will be spent on operating such facilities.

ㅇ In response to the demand for medical services of users during their facility quarantine periods, screening clinics and specialized hospitals are also operated in connection with the facilities.

□ (Management of self-quarantine subjects) A mayor of city or district issues an isolation notice, in accordance with the Infectious Disease Control and Prevention Act, to self-quarantine subjects after they return to their homes and public officials are also designated to manage the subjects. In case of violating the quarantine rules, the government will take measures accordingly with its zero tolerance principle for such violations.

ㅇ A dedicated team from the Central Disaster Management Headquarters contacts to those exempted from isolation over the phone from the next day of their entry for active surveillance including consultation and symptom-checking. If case of any symptom, such person will be delivered to a health center.

□ The Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters plans to thoroughly manage quarantine subjects throughout the whole process from arrival at airport to stay in home or facility to block the infection cases from being imported from abroad.


2. Current status of and plan for supporting overseas Koreans to return to home country

※ This information plans to be separately explained by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In case of any query, please contact to the following information:

Ministry

Division

Contact Information

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Overseas Korean Nationals Protection Division

02-2100-8201, 8202


3. Operation plan for childcare centers, social welfare facilities, and etc.

Operation plan for childcare centers


□ The government further extended the closure of childcare centers across the nation which was originally scheduled until April 5. Their reopening will be decided in consideration of new outbreak trends, possibility of infection control in childcare centers, usage rate of emergency childcare, and others.

○ Even during the closure, emergency childcare is available if parents apply for the service to childcare centers. If this case, childcare is provided all day from 7:30 to 19:30, and snacks and meals are also served as usual.

□ In addition, considering that the usage of emergency childcare is steadily on the rise, efforts are put into thorough infection prevention and control in the centers. Children and the teaching staff are requested to practice good personal hygiene and mandatorily have their fever checked twice a day. In case any symptom appears including fever (37.5℃ or more) or cough, children with symptoms are immediately stopped from going to centers and the teaching staff excused from work.

○ Teaching materials and aids in nursery rooms, thermometers, chairs and other items are disinfected every day after children leave. Also, the centers are asked to frequently disinfect commonly touched places including door knobs of entrance doors and toilets, stairway hand rails, toilet switches, to name a few.

○ It is requested to frequently open windows and doors for regular ventilation, not to share supplies between children, to avoid sitting face-to-face while having meals, and to minimize contacts to make sure childcare centers have safer environment against the infectious disease.

Recommendation for extended closure of social welfare facilities


□ The government decided to extend closure of social welfare facilities until the authorities recommend their reopening and operation so as to prevent infection of the vulnerable group. The recommended targets subject to the recent extended closure are 15 facilities already closed upon the government recommendation.

* The facilities have been already closed three times from February 28 to April 5; 110,340 facilities (99.3%) are currently closed among a total of 111,101 social welfare facilities.

< Social welfare facilities recommended for closure extension >

Children: Community child center, community child care center * Order made to further extend closure of childcare centers (Mar. 31)

Senior citizens: Senior welfare center, senior center, dementia care center, senior day/night care center

Persons with disabilities: Welfare center for the disabled, day care center for the disabled, vocational rehabilitation facilities for the disabled

Employment: Elderly employment, employment for the disabled, self-support program

Others: Psychiatric rehabilitation facilities, social welfare centers, integrated support centers among homeless facilities


□ The authorities plan to keep providing emergency childcare services even during the closure. Staff members in such facilities are requested to work as usual to provide seamless services. Given features of care recipients including children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities, it is planned to provide caring services in forms of delivering meals, checking on their status, and home visits.

○ The gap in childcare caused by the recommended facility closure should be filled through family care measures, such as the so-called family care leave, and reduced working hours system. Reopening and operation of such facilities will be decided in consideration of new outbreak trends, the government stance on social distancing, and etc.


Supporting medical devices for the vulnerable with chronic diseases


□ The authorities plan to provide home (self-measuring) blood pressure monitors and blood glucose meters to the vulnerable with chronic diseases living in the Special Disaster Zones affected by COVID-19.

○ The support was decided to be provided by setting up reserve funds for the Special Disaster Zones to help patients with underlying diseases such as hypertension or diabetes to thoroughly manage their health conditions even though it is especially difficult for them to visit medical institutions due to the spread of COVID-19.

□ Medical equipment will be supported to medical aid beneficiaries living in Daegu city, and Gyeongsan city, Cheongdo district, Bonghwa district in Gyeongbuk province who have taken medical care at hospitals due to hypertension or diabetes for the past 1 year and apply for the support (~ April 10 (Fri)).

ㅇ Blood pressure monitors and blood glucose meters and consumables will be delivered to homes of the applicatins with hypertension and diabetes respectively, with no additional costs.

□ Those receiving medical devices will be guided to use the “health center mobile healthcare app (for the public)” to record and manage blood pressure and glucose. Also, a variety of contents are to be provided to improve their lifestyle.

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