SEOUL (Reuters) – An Indonesian seaman who bust out of a South Korean coronavirus quarantine facility by digging a hole under a wall a day before he was due to complete a mandatory two weeks in isolation was caught by police on Wednesday, local media reported.
The man made his escape on Sunday night from the make-shift facility attached to a hotel in Seoul on Sunday night, but his disappearance was not discovered until the next morning.
Police arrested him on Wednesday in the city of Cheongju, 112 kilometres (70 miles) south of the capital, Yonhap news agency reported.
“The person had tested negative for coronavirus and showed no symptoms during the isolation period,” health ministry spokesman Son Young-rae told reporters.
Authorities suspected the man, who had entered the country on a ship crew visa, intended to illegally stay in South Korea, as there had been several similar incidents involving Vietnamese nationals in recent month.
Every person arriving in South Korea from overseas is required to undergo two weeks of isolation to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus regardless of whether they have COVID-19 symptoms.
In March, the country’s health ministry warned it would deport foreigners and South Korean citizens could face jail for violating self-quarantine rules after a surge in imported coronavirus cases.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported 114 new infections on Tuesday midnight, bringing the national tally to 24,353 cases, with 425 deaths.
Reporting by Sangmi Cha, additional reporting by Daewoung Kim; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore