Fear of spreading new mutant virus grows
Special quarantine measures for 4 weeks due to worsening quarantine situation
Rising concerns in the travel industry, keep an eye on future trends
As concerns about the ‘Omicron’ mutant virus are spreading around the world, the quarantine situation in Korea has also deteriorated significantly, increasing tensions in the travel industry.
President Moon Jae-in, in his remarks at the special quarantine inspection meeting for COVID-19 response presided over at the Blue House on November 29, said, “New confirmed cases, severe cases, and deaths are all increasing, and hospital beds are getting tight, but we are going back to the gradual recovery of daily life that started with difficulty. It is impossible to retreat to the past,” he said.
As the domestic quarantine situation is not sufficient to carry out the second phase of the gradual recovery of daily life (with Corona), the plan is to stabilize it through special quarantine measures. Vaccination was the core of the special quarantine measures, and it was decided to advance the introduction period so that the oral treatment, which was to be introduced in February next year, could be used within the year. He also urged that measures to block the inflow of the new mutant virus Omicron be thoroughly implemented.
The quarantine authorities also announced that they would activate a ‘circuit breaker’ such as entry restrictions if Omicron spreads in the ‘travel safety zone (travel bubble)’ enforcement area. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said on the same day, “If the spread of Omicron is discovered in the future, the travel bubble contracting countries will review the circuit breaker, and the countries under the agreement will review the implementation timing.” However, Bang Dae-bon said, “So far, Omicron has not been confirmed in Singapore and Saipan, which are countries that have signed a travel bubble agreement.”
As concerns about the spread of Omicron mutations grew, the domestic With Corona additional implementation failed, and expectations for the resumption of travel were also greatly dampened. This is because countries have re-locked the bars to block the inflow of Omicron, and as a result, consumers’ travel sentiment has weakened, increasing the possibility that international travel exchanges will freeze again. As if reflecting these concerns, the travel and airline stocks on November 29 could not avoid a sharp decline all at once. On that day, Hana Tour closed the market at 67,100 won, down 3.87%, Mode Tour (19,950, 3.62%↓), Lotte Tourism Development (16,500 won, 3.79%↓), Yellow Balloon (13,200 won, 4.35) %↓) and Good Travel (11,350 won, 4.62%↓), most of the listed travel agencies showed a decline of more than 3%. In the case of listed airlines, Korean Air and Asiana Airlines recorded 26,550 won (2.39%↓) and 18,250 won (2.67%↓), respectively, for some LCCs such as T’way Air (2,955 won, 7.08%↓). The decline was greater.
The travel industry is in a state of tension and is responding by observing the trend. A travel agency official said, “It is true that this is a bad news, but it is not enough to cause a large-scale cancellation of reservations right away. There will be no major impact.” However, he added, “If the fear of Omicron spreads and the domestic quarantine situation does not improve, it will inevitably suffer a significant blow, so we are monitoring the trend.”
By Kim Seon-joo, staff reporter [email protected]
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