Coronavirus Epidemic Continues to Impact South Korean Economy

Citizens wearing surgical mask Government advises people to wwear masks and maintain proper hygiene.

Citizens wearing surgical mask
Government advises people to wear masks and maintain proper hygiene.

As of February 12, there have been 28 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in South Korea, 4 of them having been cleared and released from quarantine. The government also plans on allocating almost 18 million USD for strengthening further quarantine measures, according to KBS. However, the concerns do not just lie strictly within the question of national health safety but also how this epidemic has made significant impact on the economy.

Due to the South Korean government셲 attempts to halt the spread of the virus within country borders, they have faced over a 6% dip in overseas sales back in January. According to the trade ministry, the lack of shipments going in and out of Korea could pose a bigger risk to the economy if the overall danger of the coronavirus continues its looming presence.

Hyundai Motors factory in Ulsan, South Korea, has been halted for few days

Hyundai Motors factory in Ulsan, South Korea, has been halted for few days

Hyundai has also announced that they would be halting production for the time being since they ran into some issues with their supply chains in China due to the coronavirus. The company is also currently actively searching for alternative suppliers to resume operation.

The outbreak has also contributed to the decline in the South Korean tourist economy 34% of inbound travelers to the country are made up of Chinese tourists. As the government is severely limiting the amount of flights coming to and from China, the tourism and aviation industry has taken quite a hit.

Despite the panic surrounding the virus, South Korea has proven to effectively promote cleanliness and maintaining proper hygiene. The government has also been actively informing people on any updates surrounding the coronavirus within country lines and how one could prevent the disease from spreading. Surgical masks have been swiftly selling out, which prompted fines for individuals hoarding products; signs, banners, and even phone alerts have been dispatched to remind South Koreans of basic cough etiquette; performances such as K-pop concerts and classical orchestra tours have also been cancelled as a precaution.

The overall impact the coronavirus has had on this country may not be entirely positive, but it has further revealed how quick to respond the government is when it comes to global health emergencies.

 

Julie Kim

Asia Journal

(Los Angeles Times Advertising Supplement)