SEOUL • South Korea said yesterday that it will add hundreds of international flights per week beginning next month, as the country continues to ease Covid-19 restrictions amid a declining Omicron wave.
From next month, the government will authorise a further 100 weekly flights for destinations such as the United States, Europe, Thailand and Singapore, where quarantine exemptions and visa-free entry are possible, said Minister of the Interior and Safety Jeon Hae-cheol.
After that, 100 more weekly international flights will be added in June, and a further 300 in July, the Transport Ministry said.
Only 420 international fights a week currently serve South Korea, down from 4,714 before the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Demand for overseas visits is expected to increase, as countries that have passed the peak of the Omicron wave have eased quarantine policies," Mr Jeon said in a statement.
Covid-19 cases in South Korea have been declining for about three weeks. The government has said that life could get back to normal soon.
"The weekly average deaths are falling, and this declining trend is expected to continue," Ministry of Health and Welfare spokesman Son Young-rae said during a briefing yesterday. "As the Omicron wave retreats, social distancing could be further eased."
South Korea is considering scrapping most pandemic-related curbs later this month, including mandatory mask wearing when outdoors, after already dropping national vaccine mandates and compulsory quarantine for vaccinated travellers arriving from overseas.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency reported 286,294 new cases for Tuesday, down from a record 621,328 in mid-March.
REUTERS, THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK