President Moon Jae-in has called for all possible means to breathe life into the economy withering due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Speaking in a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, President Moon said it's an economic emergency, noting that the fallout could be greater than previous epidemics like SARS and MERS.
We have to act decisively given that the impact of COVID-19 on the economy is an emergency. Emergency situations require emergency prescriptions. The current situation is more serious than expected.
President Moon said the Cabinet's approval of emergency funds worth some 80 million U.S. dollars is just the start.
Adding that budget implementation alone is not enough, he called for support packages to minimize the fallout on local companies that depend on China for exports or production, as well as financial support or tax incentives for small businesses.
Moon also called for aggressive regulatory reforms to encourage companies to invest.
The president also stressed the need for continued efforts to diversify Korea's export partners and develop homegrown materials and technology to minimize its dependence on other countries.
Without comparing this to the past, we must put every measure we can think of on the table and deploy all possible means. Timing is of the essence when it comes to policies. I ask for you to use your imagination when it comes to policy, beyond expectations and without limitations.
Moon reiterated his call for people to carry on with their daily lives as usual as the government is making all out efforts to contain the virus, adding that excessive concern will only weigh on the economy further.
The Blue House says the president's remarks reflect the urgency of the situation and the need to maintain public safety. It adds that the first set of economic measures will be ready by the end of this month.
Kim Min-ji, Arirang News.