Asia Minute: South Korea Faces Growing Challenges with COVID-19

Feb 27, 2020

Hawaiian Airlines has become the latest carrier to suspend service to South Korea. Increased travel restrictions are part of what has become a rapidly changing picture of daily life in parts of the country.

More than two dozen countries have now placed restrictions on travelers from South Korea. They range from mandatory medical examinations and self-quarantines to outright bans on entry. Wednesday, South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said 14 countries and territories are now refusing entry to South Koreans and anyone else who has visited the country within the last two weeks.

While health and safety remain a focus inside the country, there are other practical matters that are raising further uncertainty.

The Korea Herald reports that more than 300 publicly listed companies are scheduled to hold shareholder meetings in the month of March. There’s a growing concern that many of those meetings may not have a quorum, which could cripple the companies’ ability to pass shareholder resolutions. The corporate names include some that show up in American 401k’s and mutual funds — from Samsung Electronics to Hyundai, steelmaker POSCO to semiconductor firm SK Hynix.

The coronavirus has also sparked political activity.

The Korea Times says more than 800,000 South Koreans have signed an online petition calling for the impeachment of President Moon Jae-in. Chief among the complaints: a failure to ban the entry of travelers from China.

The document also criticizes the government for allowing the export of face masks to China while there’s a domestic shortage.