Patient Zero is believed to be a businessman who travelled to the Middle East.
The outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome deepened the wounds of the Korean tourism industry, which is already losing to Japan as the neighboring island country is benefitting from the weak yen.
Some 1.5 million Chinese tourists are reportedly cancelling their trips to Korea between June and August and instead opting to visit Japan due to fears of MERS. This is expected to widen the gap in the number of foreign visitors between Korea and Japan to more than 3 million this year.
Industry insiders say that the government should do its utmost to get the outbreak under complete control as soon as possible and draw Chinese tourists back for the Chinese National Day holidays in October.
According to the Korea National Tourism Organization, some 5.92 million tourists visited Korea during the first five months of this year, 1.62 million fewer than Japan. The gap has been increasing since November last year when Japan overtook Korea for the first time in seven years.