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South Korea Lifts Quarantine for Unvaccinated Travelers

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On Friday, South Korea’s prime minister said the country will lift its quarantine requirement for foreigners arriving without vaccinations from June 8 and also start lifting aviation regulations applicable to international flights.

However, the government will continue to require a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test result prior to entry and a PCR test within 72 hours after their arrival.

The 7-day quarantine requirement for unvaccinated foreign arrivals will be eliminated from June 8 regardless of their vaccination status, Prime Minister Han Duck-soo said at a pandemic response meeting.

He also said that as a result of the lifting of the aviation regulations, Incheon International Airport will be able to operate in a more efficient manner.

This is because current restrictions on flights and flight operation times have led to inconveniences like a lack of tickets and a rise in prices.

US, South Korea Military Drills Anger the North

In other news, a day after South Korea and the United States ended joint military drills, North Korea fired eight short-range ballistic missiles into the sea off its east coast on Sunday.

This is likely the North’s largest single test since the Trump administration scaled back military exercises that halted missile lanches by the north.

It was also the first time in over four years that an American aircraft carrier participated in bilateral exercises joint exercises with South Korea’s military.

At least eight missiles were fired from the Sunan area of Pyongyang, according to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff. They flew between 100km and 600km at altitudes of 25km to 90km.

President Yoon Suk-yeol convened a meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) to discuss “expanding deterrence between South Korea and the United States and consolidating the united defense posture”.

In a news release, the president’s office said the NSC meeting concluded that North Korea’s missile launch was a “test and challenge” of the security readiness of South Korea’s newly elected administration, which took office last month.

The missile launch came after the Biden administration last week urged more sanctions on Pyongyang. It also came just hours after the U.S. special envoy for North Korea visited Seoul to meet with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts.

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