Travel Alert Status
Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions
Reconsider travel to South Korea due to an outbreak of COVID-19.
Level 4 - Do Not Travel to:
Daegu due to the level of community transmission of the virus and imposition of local quarantine procedures.
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 and Prevention 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 and Prevention 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.
Please monitor the South Korean government’s website for further updates on the coronavirus infection.
Daegu – Level 4: Do Not Travel
See https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/watch/novel-coronavirus-china and https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/novel-coronavirus-2019.html for additional guidance.
Safety and Security
When you travel, be alert to any unusual activity around your home, hotel, or business, and report any significant incidents to the local police. For emergency assistance in the Republic of Korea, dial 112 or, from a cell phone, 02-112.
Public Demonstrations: The Republic of Korea (ROK) is a modern democracy with active public political participation, and political demonstrations are common. While in recent years there has been a decrease in violence associated with political demonstrations, even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational. You should avoid demonstrations whenever possible and exercise caution if you find yourself in an area with active demonstrations.
North Korea (DPRK):An armistice agreement, monitored by the United Nations, has maintained general peace on the Korean peninsula since 1953. Tensions have occasionally flared up because of provocative acts by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, including ballistic missile tests, nuclear tests, and limited armed incursions into ROK-held territory. Some of these provocations have escalated into geographically limited skirmishes taking place primarily around isolated islands off the northwest coast of the ROK.
The Republic of Korea maintains a high level of readiness to respond to any military threats from the DPRK. Military training exercises are routinely conducted throughout the Republic of Korea during the year and include civil defense drills, which are normally held four times a year. U.S. citizens should stay informed through local media about upcoming military exercises and civil defense drills that sometimes occur at short notice. The DPRK often issues strongly-worded and threatening messages in connection with these exercises. Please see our Fact Sheet on North Korea.
Emergency Preparedness:The U.S. Embassy in Seoul maintains a page on its website with local information about emergency preparedness. Travelers can stay informed by bookmarking this site and following local current events during their time in Korea.
During the monsoon season from June - August and the typhoon and hurricane season from May - November, heavy rains and flooding sometimes occur in the Republic of Korea.