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Employees of South Korean daily isolate themselves at printing facility to fight Covid-19

The printing press employees of JoongAng Ilbo in Daegu voluntarily decided to isolate themselves to avoid halting production of newspaper.

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New Delhi: The printing press employees of South Korean daily JoongAng Ilbo (The Central Times) have voluntarily decided to isolate themselves within the paper’s facility in Daegu, to arrest the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The move was undertaken to avoid halting the printing of the newspaper because even a single Covid-19-positive case would have resulted in the entire printing facility shutting down. The paper has a three-pronged strategy to deal with the virus — “Minimise the likelihood of infection among workers, maintain the utmost business efficiency, do not overload the system to ensure sustainability.”

Since commuting in public transport would increase the risk of contracting the infection, JoongAng Ilbo’s Daegu employees began isolating themselves at work. To facilitate this step, the paper provided “temporary measures, including individual tents for all 24 employees at the plant.”

Also read: Covid-19 hits print media hard — ads and circulation dip, editions see major digital push

JoongAng Ilbo’s Seoul newsroom

While the situation in Daegu was under control, reporters in the capital city Seoul still ran the risk of catching the virus. Similar provisions could not have been made here because of the occupational hazard of being a reporter, but the daily took necessary measures to ensure that the newsroom did not shut down.

JoongAng Ilbo took four concrete precautionary measures to protect its employees in Seoul — “Checking the temperatures of everyone entering the building, people without face masks were not allowed entry into the building, covering elevator buttons with antivirus films, taking extra care in cleaning and disinfecting the building.”

Teams that were required to work from office were divided into two, and would take turns to come to office to maintain social distancing. Additionally, the editorial team present in office worked from two separate locations.

The paper’s steps to help their employees feel safer were not just limited to this — the daily purchased 20,000 face masks early on during the outbreak for their employees.

JoongAng Ilbo’s precautionary measures proved successful as none of their 3,400 employees have tested positive for coronavirus.

About JoongAng Ilbo

First published in 1965, JoongAng Ilbo (in English, The Central Times) has a readership of 700,000 as well as a popular presence online. Based in Seoul, the daily “aims to be a news brand of record with a focus on politics, economy, social affairs, and culture”. The paper’s international partners include The New York Times, Google, Dow Jones-Reuters, Yahoo, MSN, and Nikkei.

South Korea’s fight against Covid-19

South Korea is one of the few countries that reacted quickly and efficiently to the coronavirus outbreak. The country’s first case was reported on 20 January and now, the total number of cases stands at 9,421 cases with a 44 per cent recovery rate. The country has succeeded in flattening the curve with the per capita rate of increase in the number of cases falling. An abundance of testing kits and well-prepared quarantine measures, thanks to their experience with the 2003 SARS epidemic, helped the country immensely.

Also read: On lockdown day 2, newspapers note economic safety net, Mirror praises ‘Dr Do gooders’


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