Authorities plan to continue providing COVID-19 tests free of charge, including for those seeking a new COVID entry pass beginning next month, but they may consider charging should there be a drastic increase in demand.
According to a draft of the government's social distancing transition plan, the new "vaccine pass" system, which indicates whether an individual is fully vaccinated or has recently tested negative on a PCR test, is set to be enforced at high-risk facilities from Monday.
A COVID entry pass would be required to enter 13 types of businesses classified as high-risk, such as indoor sports facilities, bars, casinos and karaoke rooms.
The pass would also be required for public events involving 100 people or more, and for visits to medical and nursing facilities. Those yet to be fully vaccinated wishing to visit such venues will have to test negative for COVID-19 on a PCR test first.
An official from the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency(KDCA) said the government is considering charging for pass-required tests or having private medical facilities offer them should demand for the PCR tests rise with a worsening virus situation.