On 26 February 2020, the U.S. Department of State issued an updated Travel Advisory for South Korea, increasing the level of advice to “Level 3: Reconsider Travel” from “Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.” The advisory reads in part as follows:
“Reconsider travel to South Korea due to an outbreak of COVID-19. Read the entire Travel Advisory.
“A novel coronavirus is causing an outbreak of COVID-19 in South Korea. On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization determined the COVID-19 outbreak constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). The South Korean government has reported cases of the COVID-19 in the country and has upgraded its response level to “grave”, its highest response level. On February 24, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Level 3 Travel Warning Avoid Non-essential Travel for South Korea. Travelers should review and follow the Centers for Disease Control’s guidelines for the prevention of coronavirus if they decide to travel to South Korea. If suspected to have COVID-19 (coronavirus) in South Korea, you may face travel delays, quarantine, and extremely expensive medical costs.
“If you travel to South Korea, the Centers for Disease Control recommends individuals take the following steps:
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Discuss travel to South Korea with your healthcare provider. Older adults and travelers with chronic medical conditions may be at risk for more severe disease.
- Clean your hands often by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%–95% alcohol. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.
- It is especially important to clean hands after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
“If you spent time in South Korea during the past 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing the Center for Disease Control recommends individuals:
- Seek medical advice. Call ahead before going to a doctor’s office or emergency room. Tell them about your recent travel to South Korea, and your symptoms.
- Avoid contact with others.
- Do not travel while sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Clean your hands by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%–95% alcohol immediately after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.”
The full text of the advisory can be found here.