COVID-19 ADVISORY - KOREA


Updated as of December 2nd, 2021.

 

Summary

Status of Covid-19 in Korea

As of December 2nd 2021, Korea reported 5,266 new Covid-19 cases, after 5,123 cases the previous day. 4,118 cases were confirmed in the metropolitan area, including 2,268 in Seoul. The number of critically ill patients hit a fresh high of 733. The death toll increased by 47 from the previous day. 5 cases of omicron variant in Korea are confirmed. 4 suspected cases are under investigation.

Social Distancing & Business Continuity Measures

 

Social Distancing

On June 19, Korea announced its new social distancing scheme. The new system will be run as a two-week pilot program from July 1 to 14. During those two weeks, the government will initially allow gatherings of up to six people in the capital area and then gradually expand the limit. Other areas will be allowed to have gatherings of up to eight people straight from July.

  • Level 1(< 500 daily cases nationwide ; <250 cases in Seoul) : no cap on private gatherings, no curfew on business operation hours, events under 500 people allowed
  • Level 2 (< 1,000 daily cases nationwide ; <500 cases in Seoul) : private gatherings up to 8 people, events under 100 people allowed, operation of restaurants and entertainment venues until midnight
  • Level 3 (< 2,000 daily cases nationwide ; <1,000 in Seoul) : private gatherings up to 4 people, events under 49 people, operation of restaurants and entertainment venues until 10pm
  • Level 4 : up to 2 people can meet after 6 pm, all types of events are prohibited

 

 
 

Additionally the city of Seoul made compulsory the wearing of masks as of August 23rd until further notice. Please refer to the Seoul Metropolitan Government webpage for further information.

The KCDC also issued more recommendations:

  • Do not go to work if feeling sick
  • Postpone or cancel non-essential outings, social gatherings, events, or travels
  • If going out, follow infection prevention guidelines

 

More information

 

Measures Implemented by French Companies in Korea

  • Working hours adjustment to avoid rush hours in the transports or implementation of home office  
  • Home office for high-risk persons (pregnant women, persons with chronic diseases)
  • Home office for persons coming from high-risk areas, or with a family relative in a similar situation
  • Limitation of business trips, especially to risk zones 
  • Limitation of in-person meetings, and favor video conferences and calls.
  • Provision masks and handwash in all facilities
  • Implementation of fever detection system in entrance areas
  • Implementation of split team shifts
  • Disinfection offices and other sites
  • Communication weekly to employees on prevention recommendations
 
 
 


Standard Plan for Business Continuity


The Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) has released its 'Standard Plan for Operation Continuance of Companies upon Occurrence of an Infectious Disease'. In the case of the occurrence of an infectious disease, each business shall establish a preparedness/response plan, and designate a division/manager to assume this responsibility. Headed by a committee composed of the CEO and teams' heads, the plan should include a medical expert to advise the committee, a response team to deliver the instructions of the Committee and maintain contact with government agencies, and the mobilization of all working-level staffs. Below is an example of response system advised by the MOTIE.

 

MOTIE STANDARD PLAN (ENG) 
 

 

Support for companies in Korea

Korean New Deal

The Korean Government announced in June the Korean New Deal focusing on the digital economy, the green economy and social inclusion. Over 1.9 bn jobs is planned to be created and 160 trillion KRW will be invested until 2025 as follows:

  • 58 tn for the Digital economy
  • 73 tn for the Green economy
  • 28 tn to strengthen social safety net

Full Plan

5th supplementary budget

South Korea's Ministry of Economy and Finance unveiled its fifth budget extension of nearly 9.3 trillion won (8.5 bn dollars) on December 29, 2020, to help SMEs and the unemployed active population. 

More info

 

Summary of Economic Measures against Covid-19

The Korean Government released a comprehensive document on its economic measures against Covid-19, including tax relief, fiscal, financial and administrative support detailed by size of companies and sectors. Specific measures are implemented for:

  • SMEs and small businesses
  • Export industries
  • Local economy
  • Airline and shipping industries
  • Tourism, restaurants and service industries
  • Workers and consumers  

FULL DOCUMENT
 

Support for Employers and Employees


The Korean Ministry of Labor and Employment (MOEL) also announced its guidelines for organizations and businesses to control and prevent the spread of COVID-19, as well as support measures such as financial assistance to quarantined employees, or the implementation of flexible hours and home office systems.

  • Employers' support for paid leave if an employee is hospitalized and quarantined by the health authority: daily salary per individual, max. of 130,000 KRW per day, application to National Pension Service branch
  • Employees' support for living expenses if hospitalized and quarantined employee does not benefit from paid leave: emergency welfare assistance of KRW 1.23 mn per 4-member household
  • In case of shutdown decided by a business owner, the employer shall pay 70% of the average wage
  • Assistance to priority companies that use a flexible working system (commuting based on time lags, home office, telecommuting): 2.6 MW per person per year if the system is used once or twice a week, and 5.2 MW per person per year if the system is used 3 times a week
     

FULL DOCUMENT

 

Special Fiscal Measures


The National Tax Service announced an extend of the deadline to report and pay corporate tax for companies suffering from new coronavirus infection and a early VAT refunds. Such companies have to submit a request to their local NTS Office. The government has also revised the Restriction of Special Taxation Act twice this year to give tax support.  By revising the taxation act, it can provide such tax support as:

  • 50 percent tax reduction for commercial property rent cuts
  • VAT cuts given to small businesses of which the revenues do not exceed 80 million won a year
  • 30 percent to 60 percent corporate tax reduction for SMEs located in the disease hit areas
  • One percent tax reduction for the payment made three months in advance
  • Up to 80 percent tax deduction for credit card use and 70 percent individual consumption tax cuts for car purchases

The government has drawn up the 2020 tax revision bill to help recover from damages incurred by the pandemic, and to encourage individuals and businesses to continue going forward. 
 

More info

 

Our webinars and ressource on business support
 

How to access the government's support package?
 

The Korean Strategy for business continuity
 

Q&A on business support for foreign-invested companies

 

Measures for exporters in Korea

The French Government has released four exceptional measures to help the exporters heavily hit by the sanitary crisis:

  • The granting of state guarantees through Bpifrance for guarantees and pre-financing of export projects will be strengthened in order to secure the cash flow of exporting companies. 
     
  • The current prospecting insurance will be extended for one year, allowing an extension of the covered prospecting period.
     
  • 2 billion euros will be provided for short-term export credit insurance thanks to the expansion of the Cap Francexport public reinsurance system. 
     
  • Support and information by the operators of Team France Export (Business France, Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Bpifrance) will be strengthened, in conjunction with the regions and the network of foreign trade advisers, together with the support of private actors. A specific watch on each geographical area of ​​interest to the companies concerned is set up. 

 

MORE INFO

Useful links and contacts

 

  • KCDA Hotline: 1339  (Services available 24/7)
     

KCDA WEBSITE  (Korean, English)
 

Covid-19 government official website (Korean, English)
 

korean mINISTRY OF HEALTH WEBSITE  (Korean, English)


Korean Ministry of Economy and Finance (Korean, English)
 

Covid-19 Seoul metropolitan government webpage (English)


EMBASSY Website  (French)
 

FKCCI  (French/Korean/English)

 

Lastest Webinars

Status of Commercial Freight 

KOTRA launched a logistics service to assist small and medium-sized companies in assuring distribution in the context of the global pandemic. Any SMEs, including foreign-invested companies, which find difficulty in establishing their own distribution centers overseas to import products in Korea (including sourcing import of raw and subsidiary materials) can jointly use warehouse of local KOTRA partner logistics companies.

More info

 

The outbreak of the virus has disturbed significantly the transport & logistics operations worldwide and in Asia. In China, most freight services (airports, ports and trucking) have recovered as Bolloré Logistics reports, but the price has increased significantly. In Korea, all ports, airports and customs office are operational, but the situation remains very tight with increasing rates for air freight with Europe and the USA. Bolloré Logistics also reports regarding sea freight that total lead time of the vessel is getting longer due to added sailing port without prior notice, but terminal congestion has been more and more stabilizing. Regarding global air freight, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) released a platform to help companies have updated information on a daily basis on cargo operations available here. Upon entry at Incheon Airport, a sanitary checkpoint is put in place.

Check the status BY GEODIS 

Check the Status by Bolloré Logistics

 

 

 

Entry in France

From December 2nd, France is imposing a negative screening test for the coronavirus for all travellers coming from countries outside the EU. The test should be performed less than 48 hours for people who have been vaccinated and less than 24 hours for those who are not vaccinated. For travelers from the EU, a mandatory test of less than 24 hours will be mandatory for those not vaccinated.

For more information in French, refer to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs website

Click Here

 

For more information in English, refer to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

click here

 

For more information on travel regulations around the world, refer to the National Association of Air Transportation.

Click Here

 

 

Entry in Korea

Due to the sanitary situation in France, the Korean authorities announced in March the suspension of the issuance of all Korean visas for residents in France. However, from April 19th some visas can be granted by derogation. You can find the list of exceptions here. Expedited visa issuance is possible only at discretion of the head of the Diplomatic Mission, whereas urgent reasons are justified. After the exception is granted, visa applications are handled by the newly opened Korea Visa Application Center (KVAC) in Paris. 

The prolongation of visas and resident cards for French residents already in Korea are not affected by this decision and can be carried out as usual.

Upon arrival, all inbound travelers are required to undergo a 2 weeks self-quarantine. Additionally, from January 8th, all foreign residents going or returning to Korea are required to present negative PCR test results within 72 hours prior to departure, in English or officially translated to Korean.  After entry in Korea, quarantine conditions remain unchanged, meaning another PCR test need to be taken within 72 hours upon return. After the 14 days of quarantine, if the local authorities assess the person is still at risk, it could require a third PCR test. If not considered at risk, the third PCR test is not obligatory.

Additionally, since the leveling up of the social distancing scheme in Korea, the quarantine exemption procedure is suspended for 77 countries hit by a Covid-19 variant including France, but an exception might be provided, upon request, for C-level executives (임원급). To benefit from this exception, high-level executives need to justify the signature of a contract or agreement, an action to perform onsite for a new facility construction or maintenance, or any action considered by the government as inevitably performed through a quarantine exemption. 

More info

 

For some countries (Japan, Singapore, China, Indonesia), Korea also signed fast track agreements to facilitate business trips.

More info

 

 

Vaccine campaigns in Korea

General procedure
Foreign residents in Korea registered at the National Health Insurance, as well as illegal immigrants, have access for free to COVID-19 vaccination campaign, following the national calendar. In Q1, priority was given to patients and caregivers under the age of 65 at nursing homes, as well as medical personnel in "high-risk" medical institutions. In Q2 2021, priority will be given to senior citizens aged 65 or over. Additionally, a digital certification system to verify a person's COVID-19 vaccination status through a smartphone application will be introduced by the end of April. You can contact the KCDA (dial 1339) to check your eligibility for vaccination and the general procedure.

Special track for businessmen
The Korean authorities announced that people who need to travel overseas for essential business will be given priority for Covid-19 vaccine shots. Priority will be given to those traveling for “business that is directly related to national interests”, diplomats and troops. No details are given regarding businesses related to national interest since it applies to a wide variety of activities, but the reasons are examined upon application opened since March 17 via the KITA support center, and pending approval by the related ministry and KCDA.

Foreign representatives of businesses in Korea are also eligible: they need to have a valid alien registration card issued since at least 3 months, and do not necessarily need to be affiliated to the Korean National Health Insurance.

more info (KR)

 

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