South Korea condemns ‘irrational’ Japan virus quarantine

The two countries have close economic ties and are both major US allies, democracies and market economies faced with a rising China and nuclear-armed North Korea.

By   |  Published: 6th Mar 2020  8:52 pm
South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, wearing a face mask, arrives at a briefing for foreign diplomats on the situation of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at the foreign ministry in Seoul, South Korea on Friday.

Seoul: Seoul will summon Japan’s Ambassador to protest over “irrational” plans to impose coronavirus quarantine on arrivals from South Korea, it said on Friday, accusing Tokyo of ulterior motives.

The two countries have close economic ties and are both major US allies, democracies and market economies faced with a rising China and nuclear-armed North Korea.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday announced that foreign arrivals who had recently been in China or South Korea would be required to spend 14 days in quarantine.

Seoul’s Foreign Ministry urged Tokyo to reconsider the “irrational and overbearing” measure in a statement, saying it would summon the Ambassador to protest. “We can’t help but question whether Japan has other motives than containing the outbreak,” it added.

Seoul could take countermeasures, it signalled, saying it was exploring “all possible options” to ensure the safety of South Koreans. South Korea’s total reported infections — the largest figure outside China, where the virus first emerged — rose to 6,284 on Friday, the Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said.

It announced seven more deaths, taking the toll to 42. Japan has reported 360 confirmed cases and six deaths from the illness.

Around 40 countries and regions have imposed entry bans on foreigners who have recently been in the South, while more than 20 require quarantine, as do several parts of China.


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