Infections jump 593% in just three days . . .
South Korea’s government says the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) infections in South Korea jumped from 30 to 208 within the last three days and confirmed the country’s first two deaths. The spike reportedly originated at the Shincheonji Church of Jesus in Daegu after a 61-year-old woman infected with the virus attended numerous services between February 9 and February 16, while refusing to get checked for the virus. Of the new cases this week, 128 are linked to the church.
Industries suffering . . .
Hyundai Motor and its affiliate, Kia Motors, which together form the world’s fifth largest automaker, suspended their operations from February 4-to-11 due to a shortage of auto parts from China. This is the first time Hyundai has suspended its operations since 1997. SsangYong Motor also halted its operations during the same period for lack of parts from China. South Korea’s tourism industry has also suffered amid the COVID-19 outbreak, which is estimated to have cost the sector C$40 million as of February 21. Airline companies have reduced their routes as demand continues to flag.
Government moves to tackle outbreak . . .
South Korean President Moon Jae-in has acknowledged COVID-19’s potential long-term effects on the economy and started exploring remedies by connecting with industry leaders. Moon also spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping on February 10 to discuss co-operative measures for containing the outbreak. Policy-makers at various levels of government have started to prepare funding alternatives to address the economic challenges. The Seoul Metropolitan Government has started to prepare a C$550-million fund to provide loans to tourism sector firms with a special interest rate of 1.5 per cent, while the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said it will increase imports of auto parts from Cambodia, the Philippines, and Vietnam, subsidizing local manufacturers as well.
- KBS News: ‘코로나19’ 관광업계 위기… 정부 지원책에 자구책까지
- The Korea Herald: Hyundai still lacking parts, full operation likely next week
- The Korea Herald: S. Korea steps up containment efforts as virus cases jump to 208