Policy Update

South Korea, widely wiewed as model for COVID-19 response, publishes planning resources and financial measures, invests in further vaccine development and economic relief packages

Upon the request of the World Bank, the Ministry of Economy and Finance (in partnership with the Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Ministry of Health and Welfare) published South Korea's health, quarantine, economic, and financial measures on COVID-19 in English and made it publically available online. South Korea will cooperate with the World Bank to support low-income countries on health and medicine and to develop and share preventive and quarantine measures that make use of ICT technologies. It has also received requests to provide diagnostic kits as humanitarian assistance from over 50 countries.

South Korea has been continuing its drive to combat COVID-19 domestically and internationally. President Moon Jae-in stressed during the G20 2020 virtual summit on March 26, 2020, the need for G20 countries to support low-income countries with weaker healthcare systems to strengthen their capacity to combat epidemics such as COVID-19. South Korea will contribute to the global effort toward developing a vaccine for COVID 19 and to improve the economic stability of low-income countries.

In terms of international cooperation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced in its 2020 policy plan that South Korea will contribute US$3 million annually from 2020 to 2022 to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) for the first time. South Korea will also be sharing information on COVID-19 response strategy.

Domestically, the South Korean government will also invest an additional KRW6 billion (US$5 million) in Korean pharmaceutical companies developing therapies and vaccines, in addition to the KRW1.6 billion (US$1 million) initially invested in January of 2020 for the cause.

Korea is also launching a program dedicated to putting vaccines into practical use this year. The 2020 budget of this program is estimated to be around KRW12 billion (US$10 million), much of which will be used for COVID-19 vaccine development. In addition to the supplementary budget, President Moon also announced on March 30, 2020, that it will implement a one-time conditional cash transfer program entitled 'emergency disaster relief money' to alleviate the economic impact of COVID-19 on Korean households. The payments are conditional, based on the household income level to ensure that those with a relatively lower level of income benefit. He also explained the government's proposal for the second supplementary budget, which is to be deliberated by the new members of the national assembly after the general election on April 15, 2020.

Press release – Ministry of Economy and Finance

News article – Yonhap News

Press release – Ministry of Health and Welfare (in Korean)