Authorities say the zombie outbreak could have escaped attention for even longer but the recent warm weather set off biological sensors at several government buildings when the heady mix of alcohol, tobacco and kimchi could no longer mask the odor of decomposing flesh.
It is believed that the entire staff of Chosun Ilbo succumbed to the zombie apocalypse. Some readers noted that the content of the newspaper had actually improved during recent days.
The origin of the outbreak is uncertain, but the authorities now believe it may have claimed its first victims several months ago with the National Election Commission blaming an election day cyber attack in December on fifteen hundred zombie PCs. The timing of the initial outbreak also appears to coincide with an increase in immigration during the period.
However, foreigners appear to have been unaffected by the outbreak. Scientists are unsure whether this is because they are simply carriers, or whether it is because even in their zombified state, Koreans are still aware that - as is constantly suggested by Korea's three major newspapers and the nation's politicians - foreigners probably have AIDS and other dangerous diseases and should be kept at arm's length.
With the birthrate falling, there are fears that if the outbreak goes unchecked Korea's 'tigerish national virility' will be sapped as its cool, high-tech and energetic population morphs into a nation of geriatric zombies.
Economists have said that the zombie outbreak has also highlighted the problem of tax avoidance in Korea. Being legally dead, the zombies were no longer subject to taxation, but since most of them were avoiding paying tax while they were still living, this failed to act as an early warning that their existential status had changed. The government is considering passing a law requiring the living dead to register at their local district office within three weeks of their new status taking effect.
Government ministers are split on how to tackle the outbreak. An initial plan to sell 'Korean Zombie' t-shirts around the world as part of the 'Korean Wave' has been very successful, but in the longer-term scientists believe they may be able to stem the outbreak through the use of stem cells, and some lawmakers favor turning Korea into a 'zombie tourism hub' where the victims of future foreign zombie outbreaks can come to get medical treatment. But Korea's largest corporations, or 'chaebol', are opposed to any attempt to reverse the process as they say productivity has risen since the outbreak began.
While roadblocks have been set up around the Gangnam area of Seoul - with cars entering the exclusive district being sprayed with disinfectant kimchi-juice - the military have argued that they do not have the resources to oversee any mass vaccination campaign, instead favoring a 'holding action' which would protect men and women over 30. KASA - the Korean Association of Sex Attackers – are campaigning for only men to be vaccinated.
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