South Korean police found on Thursday a Chinese man who went missing after testing positive for COVID-19 upon arrival, and said he would be taken to a quarantine facility and could later be charged under a disease control law.
The man's disappearance after testing positive for COVID upon arrival at Incheon airport on Tuesday and being ordered into quarantine raised concern about increasing infections after China abandoned a tough "zero-COVID" policy and prepares to scrap travel restrictions as its cases rapidly increase.
"The person was found at a hotel in Seoul this afternoon," a police officer said, adding the man in his 40s would be taken to a facility to spend the stipulated seven days in quarantine.
"We plan to investigate the individual once the mandatory isolation period is completed."
The man has been on a wanted list for allegedly running away while awaiting admission to quarantine.
He could be subject to up to one year in prison, or 10 million won ($7,840) in fines, if convicted of violating the Infectious Disease Control and Prevention Act, officials said.
South Korea began requiring travellers from China to undergo a PCR test upon arrival from Monday, joining a growing list of countries imposing border restrictions amid concern over infections following China's decision to end its zero-COVID policies.
Effective Thursday, arrivals are also required to provide a negative PCR result, taken within 48 hours of the beginning of their journeys to South Korea, or a rapid antigen test taken within 24 hours.
A total of 4,113 people have arrived from China since Monday and the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said 917 test results showed that 239 of them, or 26.1% of them, were infected with COVID.
On Wednesday, 31.5% of 327 people tested produced a positive result, agency data showed. (Reporting by Soo-hyang Choi; Editing by Robert Birsel)