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(LEAD) 10 fast-food franchise employees test positive for COVID-19 in Seoul

All News 16:56 August 12, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS details in paras 6, 8-10, photo)

SEOUL, Aug. 12 (Yonhap) -- Ten employees working at a local fast-food franchise have tested positive for the new coronavirus, officials said Wednesday, raising concerns over a possibly bigger outbreak.

The Lotteria employees were found to have met at the franchise restaurant near the Gunja subway station in the eastern Seoul ward of Gwangjin between 3:18 and 5:25 p.m. on Aug. 6, according to health authorities and the Seoul city government.

The attendees later visited two restaurants in the area, with nine more people joining them.

An employee who lives in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province, first tested positive on Tuesday, and three others, all Seoul residents, also tested positive on the same day.

Additional infections were reported on Wednesday, bringing the number of cases to ten as of 2:30 p.m.

"(The people who participated in the meeting) did not wear masks while they met for a long time," an official at Central Disease Control Headquarters said.

Officials are conducting epidemiological research to track down others who may have visited venues the employees visited or come into contact with those who were infected.

A Lotteria restaurant at Seoul Station in central Seoul is temporarily closed on Aug. 12, 2020, after company employees who held a meeting last week tested positive for the new coronavirus. (Yonhap)

Lotte GRS, which runs the franchise, said the meeting was not a regular meeting but one that was scheduled for participants to share management know-how.

The company closed and disinfected its restaurant near the Jonggak subway station in central Seoul on Tuesday after an employee there tested positive. It reopened on Wednesday.

The company has also closed seven other branches -- including those in the central Seoul wards of Jung and Yongsan -- to disinfect them.

A sign in front of a Lotteria outlet in the eastern Seoul ward of Gwangjin on Aug. 12, 2020, shows that it has temporarily closed after a COVID-19 patient visited. (Yonhap)

mlee@yna.co.kr
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