COVID-19 spread at logistics center troubles retailers - Korea Times
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COVID-19 spread at logistics center troubles retailers

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Emart24's logistics center in Gyeongsang Province. / Courtesy of Emart24
Emart24's logistics center in Gyeongsang Province. / Courtesy of Emart24

Emart24 worker at warehouse tests positive

By Kim Jae-heun

A 20-something worker at a logistic center for Shinsegae's convenience store brand Emart24 tested positive for COVID-19, Friday.

The staff member had worked at the warehouse for storing grocery stock at room temperature in the Cheoin District of Gyeonggi Province. Immediately after he was confirmed infected, Emart24 closed the facility.

The convenience store brand also closed the warehouse to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 among its workers in the area.

The infected man had worked at the center until last Thursday and was showing no symptoms when he had his body temperature checked on arrival.

Quarantine authorities and the logistics center disinfected the whole building twice times on Friday and Saturday. They are now carrying out epidemiological investigation to check with who the worker was in contact there.

Other staff at the logistics center have been told to stay home and undergo a COVID-19 test.

Eighty-four people staffed the room-temperature warehouse while 50 people worked at a low-temperature storage facility nearby.

Emart24 said it would use other logistics centers in Namyangju, Pyeongtaek, Hwaseong and Yongin in Gyeonggi Province to make up for supplies from the logistics center in Cheoin-gu.

The logistics center is shared by other firms including Ottogi, one of the country's largest food manufacturers, and they have all halted their services there.

Meanwhile, concern over the spread of COVID-19 at domestic retailers' distribution centers is increasing as more cases appear.

On June 17, a man in his 60s working at a Lotte Conectionery logistics center in Uiwang, Gyeonggi Province tested positive.

After confirmation of the infection, the distribution center closed immediately, but eight more people have tested positive.

Lotte Confectionery's logistics center in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, also shut down temporarily after a worker there came in contact with the wife of a worker, 66, at Lotte Confectionery's logistics center in Uiwang.

"We will faithfully follow the guidelines given by the health authorities for the time being," a Lotte Confectionery official said. "Our logistics centers in Uiwang and Suwon will remain closed for a while."

The country's largest online retailer Coupang is also still in trouble as a third case of COVID-19 was confirmed at its logistics center in Icheon, Gyeonggi Province, followed by a massive cluster infection at its facilities in Bucheon and Goyang in the same province.

Kim Jae-heun

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