The number of foreign patients visiting Korea for cosmetic surgery fell 99 percent in the first half of the year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, government data showed.
According to the Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI) to Rep. Nam In-soon of the Democratic Party, the number of foreign patient care for cosmetic surgeries has almost halved from 64,644 in the first half of 2019 to 31,128 in the first half of 2020.
In the first half of 2021, the number fell further to 849, a decrease of 99 percent from 2019. This shows that the pandemic has made it difficult to attract international patients to plastic surgery.
Accordingly, the cosmetic surgery tax refund for foreign patients also decreased from 10.16 billion won (8.5 million US dollars) in the first half of 2019 to 4.74 billion won in the first half of last year and to 253 million won in the first half of this year Year year.
In the first half of the last three years, the most reimbursed medical service was wrinkle removal with 15,606 cases, followed by skin regeneration / skin whitening / anti-aging treatment / pore reduction with 12,732 cases, double ellid surgery with 6,992 cases and rhinoplasty with 3,977 cases , Liposuction with 3,489 cases and breast surgery with 2,673 cases.
“Comparing the first half of the past three years has shown that the pandemic has dealt a severe blow to foreign patients who attract business,” Nam said.
The number of foreign patients must have decreased because the number of visiting foreigners has decreased following the government’s tightened rules on entry to Korea and each country’s travel restrictions to prevent the spread of Covid-19, she said.
In the post-Covid-19 era, the nation must move away from its addiction to cosmetic surgery and improve the quality of care for critically ill patients as it attracts international patients, Nam noted.
She added that the government must incorporate a sustainable and value-adding strategy into the upcoming five-year comprehensive national project to help expand the medical community overseas and attract international patients.