Government will greatly increase international flights to meet travel demand

SEOUL, May 13 (Yonhap) — The government will add an additional 230 international flights next month to meet growing travel demand in the wake of easing coronavirus restrictions, it said Friday. South Korean Interior and Security Minister Lee Sang-min.

The addition will raise the number of weekly international flights from 532 in May to 762 in June.

Starting May 23, the government will also accept negative rapid antigen test results for travelers aboard flights bound for South Korea, in addition to polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test results. according to its acronym in English) that are currently accepted, said the minister.

Since June, people from abroad will also have to undergo a PCR test within three days of their arrival in South Korea. Currently, the mandatory test must be taken during the same day of arrival in the country.

Meanwhile, additional oral COVID-19 medications, enough to treat one million patients, will be brought in, while the age limit for taking such medications will be further lowered to include those at least 12 years old and have underlying health problems. Currently, only those over the age of 40 with underlying medical conditions can receive oral COVID-19 medications.

The daily average of COVID-19 cases in the week ending Thursday reached 36,000, down 12.7 percent from the previous week, according to the minister.

Lee added that the occupancy rate of hospital beds for severely ill COVID-19 patients remained in the 10 percent range for the past four days.

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