President Moon Jae-in is calling for special measures to protect people's safety and breathe life into the South Korean economy amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
Speaking at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, President Moon said it was an emergency situation. noting that the fallout could be greater than previous epidemics, such as SARS or MERS.
Without comparing it 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. Given the urgent situation, we must take emergency measures and not lose the opportunity to move quickly.
President Moon said budget implementation alone is not enough, and called for support packages to minimize the fallout on local companies that depend on China for exports or production, while urging officials to review potential financial support or tax breaks for small businesses.
He also called for aggressive regulatory reforms and incentives to encourage investments by companies.
The president also stressed the need for continued efforts to diversify export partners and develop homegrown materials and technology to minimize South Korea's external dependency.
However, President Moon reiterated his call on the public to avoid worrying too much and carry on with their daily lives as usual, saying excessive fear will only weigh on the economy even further.