Korea Inc. acts fast as virus outbreak worsens

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Korea Inc. acts fast as virus outbreak worsens

Corporate Korea is taking no chances when it comes to the coronavirus, shutting down medical centers, telling employees to work from home and requiring protective gear for meetings that must be done in person.

Doosan Heavy Industries on Wednesday said it closed the medical center at the company’s plant in Changwon, South Gyeongsang, after an employee with a fever visited.

The company added that eight medical center workers and 21 employees who visited the center were sent home and told to quarantine themselves.

On the same day, GM Korea’s plant in Bupyeong, Gyeonggi, shut the medical center at the plant after an employee with a fever visited. The employee turned out not to be infected with the coronavirus.

Also on Wednesday, CJ Cheiljedang in central Seoul shut its medical center for the same reason. It was reopened after the employee turned out to be free of the virus.

On Thursday, SK hynix sent home all 800 employees at its campus in Icheon, Gyeonggi, after one new employee turned out to have had contact with one of the people infected with the virus in Daegu, while another employee exhibited signs of pneumonia.

LG Electronics ordered employees to refrain from moving around factory grounds. It also told employees to postpone business trips to Daegu and North Gyeongsang or to hold meetings through video conference.

Employees who have recently visited Daegu or North Gyeongsang were advised to work at home, even if they have no signs of being infected with the virus.

Samsung Electronics video display notified employees that the company has decided to halt shuttle bus travel between plants at Suwon, Gyeonggi, and Gumi, North Gyeongsang, and is advising employees to avoid meeting in person. If they must meet in person, they should wear protective masks.

Assembly lines making automobiles, electronics goods and semiconductors are of particular concern, as one person can infect the entire line.

Tensions are particularly high at automotive companies, which have had to repeatedly suspend their operations due to the lack of components from suppliers in China.

Not only are manufacturers affected, but other businesses are also taking drastic measures.

Emart’s Kintex branch in Gyeonggi immediately closed on Friday after an employee tested positive for the virus. The disinfection process has been completed, but the company hasn’t decided when the branch will be reopened.

On Feb. 6, GS Home Shopping closed its headquarters in Yeongdeungpo District, western Seoul, for three days after an employee tested positive for the virus.

BY KIM YOUNG-JOO [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]

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