S. Korean businesses fear another shutdown as coronavirus resurges
SEOUL — As daily confirmed coronavirus cases in South Korea exceeded 300 for the second consecutive day, large companies feared another bout of shutdowns similar to that during the first wave of the pandemic early this year.
Over the past few days, Samsung, LG, SK and Hyundai Motor closed some of their office buildings after their employees were infected.
On Wednesday, Samsung Electronics said one employee working at its mobile research center in Suwon was confirmed to have coronavirus. The firm closed down the entire building, disinfected it and told employees to work from home until Friday.
Samsung Town — which is comprised of Samsung Electronics, Samsung C&T and Samsung Life Insurance buildings — in Seocho-gu, Seoul also disinfected some of the buildings after staff there caught the virus.
On Thursday, one employee at Samsung Life Insurance was found to be infected with the coronavirus. The firm disinfected the floor where the employee worked and ordered the employees on the same floor to work from home. The same day, one infected staff was also found at Samsung Asset Management, which is located in Samsung Electronics building.
LG Electronics was also on alert when one of its employees at Seocho R&D Campus in Seoul was confirmed to have the coronavirus on Tuesday. LG disinfected the entire building in the R&D campus and closed it until Thursday. Employees who are found to have been in close contact with confirmed cases are allowed to work from home for two weeks regardless of the results of their test, the firm said.
At SK Group’s headquarters building in Seoul, two employees tested positive for the virus.
On Wednesday, SK Innovation said one of its workers was confirmed to be infected. The company closed the floor where the employee worked, disinfected it and told employees, who were likely to come in contact with the worker, to return home. A day earlier, one employee of SK E&S working at the headquarter building was confirmed, and all of SK E&S employees switched to telecommuting.
The group advises its staffs to refrain from moving between floors and to strictly comply with the quarantine rules.
The nation’s largest automaker Hyundai Motor was also unable to avoid the virus.
There were two confirmed cases at its Namyang Technological Research Center on Tuesday. The firm closed the space where the employees worked and allowed the resident personnel to return home.
As COVID-19 cases resurge, the authorities decided Thursday to upgrade the “social distancing” level to 1.5 in the Seoul metropolitan area, the entire Gwangju area and some parts of Gangwon Province. When the level 1.5 is implemented, companies are recommended to expand telecommuting.
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