South Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism will provide free insurance to foreign tourists to cover their medical and traveling expenses in full if they contract the virus while visiting the country.

With the outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in South Korea causing panic and deterring visitors, the State’s decision to offer free insurance policies to foreign tourists was one of several measures introduced on 14 June to relieve foreign tourists’ concerns. Additional measures include a 24 hour free-phone helpline and provision of sterilizing products at tourist attractions. 

Whilst there are no reported cases to date of foreigners being infected by MERS in South Korea, the outbreak in South Korea has been the largest outside of Saudi Arabia, with new cases still being reported. This has led to large-scale cancellations of tourist and also business trips. 

It is hoped the decision to offer the complimentary insurance will make foreign tourists feel the country is date to visit and to combat the decline in tourism since the outbreak of the virus. However an expert microbiologist from Hong Kong University has commented that this is not the answer and South Korea should instead focus on demonstrating they are in control of the MERS outbreak.