MERS Casualties

South Korea is struggling with an outbreak of the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus, which has so far killed nine people.

Photo: AP Photo / Yonhap, Shin Jun-hee
Passengers get screened for the Ebola virus upon arrival at Incheon International Airport in Seoul. 

The health crisis has led to the cancellation of a number of entertainment events, including the Black Music Stage concert series by local hip-hop artists. In addition, a popular TV music show, “Show Music Core,” announced it would only admit audience members wearing surgical face masks, though performers on the show were apparently not required to don them.

However, according to K-pop fan site KpopStarz, pop star Kim Jong-kook was asked by reporters why he didn’t wear a mask when he performed at the Hong Kong Music Festival on June 6, implying that he might be putting the audience at risk.

He replied that his fans come to the concert to “get a glimpse of me,” and, besides, “I heard that people with a healthy immune system don’t need to worry too much about MERS.”