In the wake of the worst disease epidemic to strike South Korea in decades, the South Korean government has come up with a desperate measure to soften the blow on the country’s tourism industry.

In an initiative that will begin next Monday (22nd June), the South Korean government will pay tourists S$4,039, as well as cover all medical and vacation expenses incurred by tourists if they contract the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). If the tourist succumbs to the disease, South Korea will pay 100 million won (S$120,000) to the family of the deceased tourist.

20 South Koreans have died from the disease so far, while more than a 100 are still struggling to survive the virus. Those who succumbed were mostly elderly or had pre-existing medical conditions.

The South Korean tourism industry has suffered the largest set back in years, with over 100,000 tourists cancelling their trips. In the past, South Korea would see almost 1 million tourists a month, but with the crash in the tourism sector, South Korea’s economy is now at a standstill.

Almost 3000 schools have been closed and thousands of people are in quarantine across the country.

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