South Korea offers free, discreet Covid-19 testing

By Nguyen Quy   March 15, 2021 | 05:43 pm PT
South Korea offers free, discreet Covid-19 testing
Medical staff take samples from residents for Covid-19 tests in Seoul, 2021. Photo by Reuters.
All foreign workers in South Korea, including illegal Vietnamese immigrants, can get Covid-19 testing done for free until March 22, the Vietnamese labor ministry says.

The identities of illegal immigrants will not be disclosed, the South Korean government has promised, according to the Center of Overseas Labor under the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs.

It said that South Korea's Ministry of Justice will temporarily suspend a crackdown on overstayers so they will not become a loophole in the country's fight against the pandemic.

The number of overstayers reached a high of 398,518 last year, up 8.7 percent year-on-year. Most of the overstayers are from countries such as China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand and Nepal, The Strait Times reported.

To encourage the overstayers to come forward for testing, the South Korean government has promised they would not screen visas at test centers and require testers to submit only a phone number for registration and notification of test results.

All foreigners, including Vietnamese working in Gyeonggi Province, which surrounds Seoul, are required to be tested for Covid-19 before March 22 as part of South Korea's efforts to curb the spread of the virus among migrant workers in the region.

Those refusing to do so can face fines of up to three million won ($3,550).

Many workers are stranded in South Korea due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has infected nearly 65,000 people in the nation and caused 1,007 deaths.

South Korea last month allowed Vietnamese and other foreign workers with expired Employment Permit System (EPS) contracts to become seasonal employees until March 2022. Unable to return because of the Covid-19 pandemic, they will be granted an extended residence permit by South Korea's Ministry of Justice.

There are nearly 50,000 Vietnamese workers in South Korea which has been struggling with a new Covid-19 outbreak.

South Korea has recorded over 96,000 novel coronavirus infections so far.

go to top