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South Korea to exempt auto chip buyers from COVID-19 quarantine, provide vaccines

South Korea to exempt auto chip buyers from COVID-19 quarantine, provide vaccines

A nurse fills a syringe with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at a healthcare centre in Seoul on Feb 26, 2021. (Photo: Jung Yeon-je/Pool via REUTERS)

SEOUL: South Korea said on Wednesday (Mar 10) it will exempt business people working to secure supply of auto chips from two-week COVID-19 quarantine requirements and prioritise the vaccination of people key to auto chip procurement.

The move comes as South Korea tries to limit the damage from a chip shortage that has plagued global automakers and forced production cuts worldwide, including at Volkswagen and General Motors. Germany and the United States have also ramped up efforts to resolve the shortage.

South Korea's leading automaker Hyundai Motor has so far kept factories running, but a Hyundai union official told Reuters on Tuesday that overtime production of less-popular models had stopped and production schedules were changing from week to week.

COMMENTARY: There is a global semiconductor famine and it will not go away anytime soon

Although the domestic auto industry's situation was good compared to international rivals, "concerns about future production disruptions have increased", the government said in a statement.

Chip production capacity could not be increased quickly, with 98 per cent of auto chips used by South Korean automakers coming from abroad, it added.

READ: How Toyota thrives when the chips are down

To help deal with the shortage, Koreans and foreigners involved in auto chip imports or production would no longer have to quarantine for two weeks on arrival in the country from abroad, starting April.

COVID-19 vaccinations would be available for people departing for essential purposes such as purchasing and procuring auto chips.

The government also said it would speed up performance evaluations of auto chip components and modules developed by domestic companies.

Source: Reuters/dv

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