S. Korea alert against lambda variant, toughens measures against Peru, Chile arrivals

September 1, 2021

South Korea has adopted tougher measures to block the inflow of the lambda variant of the novel coronavirus as the country is struggling to contain the spread of variant cases amid the fourth wave of the pandemic, according to health authorities.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) announced Tuesday that arrivals from Peru and Chile will go through a mandatory seven-day quarantine at designated facilities starting Sept. 10.

The arrivals from the two countries will receive the first round of PCR testing on the first day of arrival, the second one on the sixth day, and the last one before leaving quarantine facilities.

The lambda strain was first discovered in Peru in August 2020, accounting for the majority of infections in Peru and about a third of new cases in Chile before the emergence of the delta variant.

The World Health Organization has classified lambda as a “variant of interest.” Multiple studies indicated it is highly unlikely for the lambda variant to replace the delta variant.

The toughened measure came as the country has confirmed 3,455 more cases of four major contagious variants of the new coronavirus over the past week, including 3,427 of the highly transmissible delta variant.

The caseload of such infections reached 20,297 here, with the number of delta cases, first reported in India, tallied at 16,881, according to the KDCA.