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Foreign embassies in Seoul, including those of the United States and the United Kingdom, have called on the South Korean government to grant “urgent recognition” to foreign nationals vaccinated abroad against Covid-19, as the dispute on the country’s jab policy is intensifying.

The embassies – which also included those of Australia, Canada, India and New Zealand as well as the EU mission – said foreign nationals should have “the same rights of access to public facilities that Korean nationals fully vaccinated abroad ”.

South Korea’s current Covid-19 restrictions require proof of vaccination to enter a number of public spaces. Vaccines administered domestically are recognized, as are those administered abroad to South Korean nationals.

But vaccinations given abroad to foreign nationals, including those residing in South Korea, are not recognized until the recipient has obtained a quarantine exemption to enter the country.

South Korea on Friday suspended quarantine exemptions for double-vaccinated international arrivals to help prevent the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

The government has also broadened its mandate to require proof of vaccination in restaurants and cafes, while lowering the exemption age from 18 to 11.

The US Embassy said the “discriminatory policy. . . causes undue hardship for US citizens vaccinated outside Korea, ”adding that he had raised this with the South Korean government“ at the highest level ”.

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